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Army court martial sacks major-general Hakeem Otiki for theft

Valentine Chinyem



The former General Officer Commanding (GOC) Major General Hakeem Otiki has been dismissed from Service by the General Court Martial set up by the Military Council to try him for stealing money belonging to the Nigerian Army.

The General Court Martial headed by Lieutenant-General Lamidi Adeosun found the former GOC guilty on all the five counts charges filed against him and ordered that he should be sacked with “disgrace and dishonour”.

The former GOC was charged for stealing N100 million and N160 million, respectively money belonging to the Nigerian Army in count one and two and disobedience to Standing Order under section 66 of the Armed Forces Act(AFA).

Mr Otiki was the General Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army 8 Division in Sokoto in July 2019 who authorised the transportation of a large sum of money that was reportedly stolen by five soldiers who conveyed the cash.

During his trial on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, the tribunal ordered he be demoted from major general to brigadier general and dismissed.

The court also ordered that all monies totalling N135.8 million, $6,600 recovered be returned to the coffers of the Nigerian Army.

In his final submission, Mr Otiki’s lead lawyer, Israel Olorundare, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, pleaded for clemency and urged the Nigerian Army to show mercy.

Mr Olorundare told the court that the accused officer had returned N100 million that was stolen by the soldiers detailed to escort the money to Kaduna, and that some of the projects for which N150 million was released to Mr Otiki were either completed or about to be completed.

Mr Olorundare told the court that the accused officer is the breadwinner of his family, adding that “a career built for 35 years is coming to an end on a very sad note.”

After the sentencing, the lawyer said the defence will make a representation to the appropriate convening authority to note that Mr Otiki did not steal the transported money, and that he was the one who reported the incident.

“Aside from this, he still sourced for the money and returned it to the authorities. So, there is really a need to take another look at the judgement,” the lawyer said.