The Nigerian Navy has invited Captain Emmanuel Ekpe Owen who petitioned military authorities over his alleged victimisation by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, after exposing his financial misappropriation and corruption.
Owen had, in a 10-page petition dated December 12, 2019, and addressed to the military authorities, explained how he was locked up in the toilet for six days for exposing shady deals and corruption involving the Chief of Naval Staff.
Owen said, in the petition, that he stumbled on the allowance file for the personnel onboard NNS AMBE's in 1995 and 1996 when he was on national assignment in Liberia under the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group.
Then he discovered that Ibas had inflated the names of personnel to 85 instead of 45 with various rates attached to each recipient and already paid.
Owen then summoned courage and confronted Ibas about the issue, insisting that the discrepancies in the ECOMOG allowance could put the ship in trouble and embarrass the Nigerian Navy.
But in a twist of events and one year after raising the alarm, the naval authorities on Tuesday 8, December 2020 formally summoned the officer to Lagos in a letter and also asked him to report the same day to commence the process of court-martial.
Owen's lawyer, Pelumi Jemigbesi, confirmed the court-martial to SaharaReporters on Wednesday.
Jemigbesi said the navy hierarchy was in a hurry to take the officer out of the system because he called out the Chief of Naval Staff for his alleged financial malfeasance.
He said the Navy did not know what offence he would be charged with, adding that they had been patiently waiting for the process to commence before taking any action.
The human rights lawyer also faulted the action of the Chief of Naval Staff for constituting the panel in the matter in which he was a party. He stated that the action negated the natural principles of fair hearing.
"Owen has not done anything wrong. He has followed the due process to make complaints against the Chief of Naval Staff. He is the man at the centre of the whole crisis. You cannot constitute a panel and set up a court-martial process against him because you cannot be a judge in your case," he said.