…says Gen Otiki be demoted, disgraced, dishonoured
Nigerian Army General Court Martial has ordered the dismissal of the General Officer Commanding 8 Division, Sokoto, Major Gen Hakeem Oladapo Otiki, from service.
The Court Martial, which was set up by the Nigerian Army to try Otiki for corruption, found him guilty on all five counts and ordered his dismissal from service with disgrace and dishonour.
The Court Martial under its President, who is also the Nigerian Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen Lamidi Adeosun, found Major General Otiki guilty of disobedience to service orders and theft of public property, among others.
It ordered Otiki’s dismissal from service with disgrace and dishonour, reduction in rank from Major General to Brig General, and severe reprimand.
But the sentences are subject to confirmation of the Army Council.
The General Court Martial also ordered that all monies totalling N135.8million, $6,600 recovered by the Special Investigation Bureau be returned to the coffers of the Nigerian Army.
It also ordered the return to the Army of another N150million stolen money, which could not be accounted for.
It added that all the sentences are subject to the approval of the appropriate convening authority.
In his allocutus before the Court Martial’s judgment, lead counsel for Major General Otiki, Barr. Israel Olorundare SAN, pleaded for clemency and urged the court to temper justice with mercy, saying it should not use a sledgehammer to kill a fly.
He reminded the court that General Otiki was a loyal, disciplined officer and well-mannered, and a good manager of resources as attested to by Deputy Director, Records in the office of the Military Secretary, Army, Col Nuhu Mohammed, who read his resume.
The lawyer also told the court that General Otiki was the officer who facilitated and obtained the NNPC licence for the Nigerian Army and assisted greatly in helping to tackle criminality in Lagos area during his time in Operation Mesa.
On the various counts, Otiki’s counsel said, in Count1, the accused senior officer returned the sum of N100million stolen by the soldiers detailed to escort the money to Kaduna.
On Count 2, he said it was proved that some of the projects for which the sum of N150million was released to the accused senior officer were either completed or ongoing and workers still on site.
Furthermore, he urged the court to consider that the accused senior officer, who is very sick, is also due for retirement this year.
His wife has cancer and his mother died the same July 2019 that soldiers taking the money to Kaduna stole, he said.
The lawyer also reminded the court that Gen Otiki is the breadwinner of his family lamenting, “A career built for 45 years is coming to an end on a very sad note.”
After the General Court Martial’s judgment, Otiki’s lawyer said the Defence would make a representation to the convening authorities to note that General Otiki was not the one that stole the money, but reported the incident.
“Aside this, he still sourced for the money and returned it to the authorities. So there is really need to take another look at the judgment,” he said.