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Missing ship: Court martial member’s daughter abducted

Posted by By KINGSLEY OMONOBI on 2005/01/18 | Views: 318 |

Missing ship: Court martial member’s daughter abducted


FOR 13 out of the 72 days that the General Court Martial (GCM) that tried and convicted Rear Admirals Samuel Kolawole and Francis Agbiti but freed Rear Admiral Anthonio Bob Manuel sat, one of the military court members apparently went through emotional trauma, following the kidnap of his daughter.

FOR 13 out of the 72 days that the General Court Martial (GCM) that tried and convicted Rear Admirals Samuel Kolawole and Francis Agbiti but freed Rear Admiral Anthonio Bob Manuel sat, one of the military court members apparently went through emotional trauma, following the kidnap of his daughter.

Military sources weekend tried to link the abduction in Lagos to alleged attempts to force the victim’s father out of the military court and therefore frustrate the trial that also took place in Lagos.

The exit of the military big wig, said to be a Rear Admiral, according to the sources, would have led to a shortfall in the composition of the court martial which would have been difficult to fill as there would have been no personnel in the navy to replace him. The implication, Sunday Vanguard learnt, was that the CGM would have been unconstitutional, going by the nation’s military regulation, and thereby stopped sitting, thus throwing spanners into the works of the trial.

These revelations came as sources quoted one of the two Rear Admirals convicted as saying he escaped being jailed by the whiskers. Both Rear Admirals were found guilty and dismissed from service.

The three Rear Admirals had been charged with conspiracy to commit felony while individually, Kolawole faced four other charges including conduct prejudicial to service discipline, loss of MT African Pride and giving of false evidence.

Agbiti had other charges against him as alteration of service documents, lying to the chief of the naval staff and giving the impression that the missing vessel had been released to the police. Bob Manuel in addition to the conspiracy charge, faced three other counts including conduct prejudicial to service discipline.

The military court member whose daughter was kidnapped and who, the sources claimed, hails from the Middle Belt Region was said to have been advised by the abductors to withdraw from the trial, citing ill health or urgent family problems that needed his personal attention.

But the military officer, according to the sources, ignored the advice and opted to go through the trauma of the daughter’s abduction while military security apparatus looked for the girl, said to be in her teens.

The security apparatus was to have been unsuccessful in their search for the girl until she was miraculously released by the kidnappers, 13 days after her abduction. Sources ascribed the girl’s release even when the father failed to meet the abductors demand to divine intervention.

They claimed the abduction was one of the strange things that happened to the GCM members while the trial lasted.

“It was by the grace of God that we started and concluded the 72 days trial of the MT African Pride saga. What we went through in those 72 days would be difficult to explain. We faced not only spiritual attacks on our persons, all sorts of things happened, even terrible accidents that would have claimed lives”, a member of the military court, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Sunday Vanguard.

He went on: “They even went to the extent of kidnapping the daughter of a member of the panel for 13 days. They knew how important this girl was to the Rear Admiral and that if he opted out, the court martial would be doomed. But to God be the glory, we gathered ourselves, and committed the girl to divine protection and on the thirteenth day, she was released.”

“In all, I want to give thanks to God for seeing us through without the loss of any member. Yes, it was that bad but God showed us that He is alive and for those who genuinely believed in him”

Reminded that there could have been a spare-member that would have taken the place of the member whose daughter was kidnapped if he had opted out, the source said that lawyers for the defence would have exploited the situation and ensured that the spare member option was frustrated. “If you imagined that they even argued against the Judge Advocate sitting and that the lead lawyer for the prosecution (Brig-Gen. Idada Ikpowen) is a retired military officer and as such ought not to be allowed to handle the case, which was not correct as they were permitted by law, you can deduce what they would have done if a member was to opt out.”

On the dismissed Rear Admiral that called a two-star General and course mate, a source said the Rear Admiral felt he was going to be jailed because the punishment for the charges levelled against them was supposed to carry jail sentences and as such, “since we had lost, I feared it would be straight to jail from the court. But thank God for Admiral Ajayi and the members for considering our pleas for mitigation, it would have been worse.” “To be honest, as the arguments and proceedings progressed, it became obvious that our case was a bad one since the evidence against us were overwhelming”, the Rear Admiral reportedly told the two-star General.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.