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Court rescues 2 soldiers from hangman’s noose

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Two to be hanged for killing Bayelsa surveyor over boundary crisis

Reprieve came the way of two soldiers convicted to die by a General Court Martial (GCM), as the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, ordered the Nigerian Army to stop any plan to execute them.

The two soldiers are among 12 soldiers convicted by the GMC in Abuja on September 15, 2014.

Justice Abubakar Abdulkadir-led appeal panel made the order on Monday but a copy of the enrolled order was only released to journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

The court ordered the Nigerian Army to stay execution of the sentence with regard Lance Corporal Igonmu Emmanuel and Private Andrew Ngbede pending the hearing and determination of their appeal against the death penalty passed on them by the GCM.

The appellate court also ordered the Nigerian Army to avail them and their lawyers copies of the record of proceedings of the General Court Martial.

One of the convicted soldiers, Lance Corporal Stephen Clement, had also filed a separate application for stay of execution of the GCM’s sentence but had yet to be heard by the Court of Appeal.

Other convicts had also filed their appeals and applications for stay of execution of the sentence.

The GCM, presided over by Maj. Gen. C.C. Okonkwo, had sentenced 12 out the soldiers who were together standing trial for mutiny to death.

The soldiers were said to have on May 14, 2014 fired shots at the General Officer Commanding the newly created 7 Division of Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Ahmed Mohammmed, in Maiduguri.

The soldiers were tried on sundry charges ranging from disobedience to particular order, insubordination, false accusation, criminal behavior, conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny under the Armed Forces Act 2004.

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