Army ‘orders release’ of Ransome-Kuti, a week after Falana threatens to sue

Brigadier General Ransome-Kuti sentenced to 6-months in prison | YNaija.com
Brigadier General Ransome-Kuti sentenced to 6-months in prison | YNaija.com

Brigadier General Enitan Ransome-Kuti is reported to have been recommended for release from custody by the Nigerian Army Council.

Ransome Kuti was arrested in January 2015 and tried for abandoning his duty post in Baga while serving as commander of a joint multinational task force in the war for Boko Haram.

The Brigadier General was also accused of being unable to account for the weapons in his charge, which were stolen by Boko Haram insurgents when they sacked the armory.

According to Sahara Reporters, the army council’s memo also contained a reduction in his rank from Brigadier General to Colonel.

Thereafter, he is to be reabsorbed into the army and posted back into service

The Brigadier General is the son of a prominent medical doctor known for his work as a human rights activist, Beko Ransome-Kuti- a brother to late Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti.

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), had last week, called for the immediate release of Brigadier General Enitan Ransome-Kuti, from prison custody.

Falana argued that Ransome-Kuti had completed the six months sentence imposed on him by a Special Court Martial set up to try him by the Nigerian Army on October 15, 2015.

He made the call in a statement addressed to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai.

The SAN stated that if his request is not responded to, by the army authority, he would approach the court of law to enforce his client’s right to liberty.

He explained that by virtue of Regulations 54 and 55 of the Prisons Regulations made pursuant to the Prisons Act (CAP. P29) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which provides that every convict is entitled to a remission of one third of the sentence imposed by a court, Ransome-Kuti ought to have been released on February 15, 2016.

“It would be recalled that our client was unjustly convicted and sentenced to dismissal from the Nigerian Army and 6-month imprisonment by a Special Court Martial on October 15, 2015.”

“As the findings of the Special Court Martial are subject to the confirmation of the appropriate authority we made a strong representation to the Army Council on behalf of our client.”

“By letter dated October 19 2015 we also requested the Authorities of the Nigerian Army to release our client from military custody pending the determination of the appeal, which he intended to file against the unjust findings of the Special Court Martial which convicted him of war related crimes and sentenced him to 6-month imprisonment and dismissal from the Nigerian Army.”

“For reasons best known to you the request for our client’s release pending appeal was turned down by your good self in flagrant violation of section 160 of the Armed Forces Act (Cap A20) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

“Thus, you caused our client to serve the 6-month prison term without the confirmation of the findings of the Special Court Martial by the Army Council.

“As if that was not enough, you have ignored our demand for the release of our client since he completed the 6-month prison term on February 15, 2016. In our letter dated February 12, 2016 on the subject matter, we had pointed out that our client ought to have spent 4 calendar months in custody by virtue of Regulations 54 and 55 of the Prisons Regulations made pursuant to the Prisons Act (CAP. P29) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which provides that every convict is entitled to a remission of one third of the sentence imposed by a court.”

“In view of the foregoing, you will agree with us that the continued detention of our client cannot be justified under the Armed Forces Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. We are therefore compelled to request  you to use your good offices to ensure that our client is released from unjust and illegal incarceration forthwith.”

“Take Notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to our request by ensuring the immediate release our client we shall not hesitate to seek redress in the Federal High Court with a view to  securing the enforcement of his fundamental right to person liberty guaranteed by section 35 of the Constitution and article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004,” Falana had said.

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