Brigadier-General JO Akomolafe, who was arraigned before a military court martial on charges of cowardly behavior; failure to perform military duty; and loss of military property, has been acquitted of all the charges.
The senior officer, a former Brigade Commander of HQ 21 Bde Bama in Borno State, was arraigned before the military court at the 9 Brigade Officer’s Mess, sitting at the Ikeja military cantonment, over the loss to Boko Haram insurgents of the Mohammed Kur Barracks in Bama, Borno State, on 1 September 2014.
Brigadier-General Akomolafe, who was represented by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) and Major Femi Oyebanji (Rtd), convinced the court that the loss of the location was due to lack of serviceable equipment, as well as adequate ammunition and personnel, to repel the attack.
The uncontroverted evidence advanced during the trial was that the troops fought gallantly despite the limited resources available, but were overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the insurgents. The troops therefore withdrew from the barracks because no further efforts could have prevented the location from falling.
A review of the case headed by Maj Gen SD Aliyu agreed with the defence, and discharged and acquitted Brig Gen Akomolafe, finding him not guilty on any of the charges against him.
A shocking revelation during the trial was that the then General Officer Commanding HQ 7 Division, Maj Gen MY Ibrahim had prior knowledge of the constraints of the HQ 21 Bde headed by Brig Gen Akomolafe but did not address them. Several requests sent to him by Brig Gen Akomolafe for ammunition replenishment for troops, and for repair teams to take care of repairs of the equipment were deliberately ignored or not granted.
Perhaps more shocking was the evidence that he got early information of the impending attack from the then former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen JT Minimah (Rtd), but intentionally refused to pass the information to the brigade commander. Furthermore, a last-minute appeal to him one day before the attack by Brig Gen Akomolafe for urgent equipment and ammunitions to fight and safeguard Bama was also denied.
In his reaction to the judgment of the panel, General Akomolafe thanked God and his lawyers for saving his life and his career in the Nigerian Army. He was also full of gratitude to the members of the General Court Martial for their sense of justice.
The court martial was convened and inaugurated by the then General Officer Commanding HQ 81 Division, Maj Gen TI Dibi (Rtd).