The Nigerian Navy, on Friday in Lagos, court-martialled 13 of its personnel arrested for their alleged involvement in both civil and military offences.
The president of the Western Naval Command Court, Zakariayya Muhammad, a rear admiral, said the court-martial was convened at the instance of the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Awwal Gambo, a vice admiral.
The officers being tried are a navy captain, three ‘personnel’ and nine others comprising commander, lieutenant-commander and sub-lieutenants.
Mr Muhammad said the 13 personnel would be assumed innocent, until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
“The general court martial is part of the military criminal justice system emplaced to try military personnel with seasoned officers as trial judges of many years of experience.
“The court will be guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, Armed Forces Act Cap A20 LFN 2004, BR 11 Manual of Naval Law.
“The Evidence Act 1990, the Criminal Code Act 1990, Holy Qur’an, Holy Bible and any other law material or document relevant to the trial,” he said.
The president said the accused were entitled to legal advice, but would be provided with a serving officer if the accused was unable to get a lawyer.
“The court martial will uphold all the principles of justice and fairness throughout its duration,” Mr Muhammad said.
In addition, the Chief of the Naval Staff, represented by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Oladele Daji, a rear admiral, said the president of the court had the power to summon any witness to appear before the court during the trial period.
Mr Daji told the adjudicating officers to abide by the tenets of the court and view the personnel on trial as innocent, until they were adjudged guilty.
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