A Major in the Nigerian Army, Akeem Oseni, who was among three army personnel jailed on Friday for 10 years over the death of a Lance Corporal, Benjamin Collins, has escaped.
Oseni, whose judgement was delivered by the General Court Martial in Command Mess, Asokoro, Abuja, reportedly told court officials he was going to use the toilet before he escaped.
The Nigerian Army has already launched a manhunt for the officer and sent a signal to all its units and formations to arrest Oseni.
The army signal, which was obtained by our correspondent, stated that the police and the Department of State Services had also been informed about Oseni’s escape.
The General Court Martial in Abuja on Friday sentenced Majors Oseni, Ogbemudia Osawe and Second Lieutenant Nuhu Dogary to 10 years’ imprisonment for torturing Lance Corporal Collins to death.
It had also been reported that the officers moved Collins from a guardroom at Mogadishu Barracks, Abuja, where he was being held, to a bush near Ihejirika Quarters along Abuja-Nyanya Expressway, where he was said to have been assaulted.
Collins had died after the assault, and his corpse was deposited at Asokoro General Hospital mortuary.
The three army personnel were found guilty of manslaughter by the GCM, which comprised the President, Brigs. Gen. G. Umelo; S. Aliyu, A. Edet, Brig. N. Mohammed, Cols. K. Ndamadu, T. Agbor, and I. Tanko.
According to the army’s signal the military, police and the DSS are searching for Oseni and have put all units and formations on the alert.
The signal reads, “The GCM sitting at Army Headquarters Command Mess, Abuja, delivered a judgment on the case between the Nigerian Army versus Major A.A. Oseni, N/12127; Major O.U. Osawe, N/12004; Captain S.E. Amosu, N/13041; and Second Lieutenant N.B. Dogary, N/16390. The accused officers were charged with manslaughter, punishable under Section 105 of the AFA CAP A20 LFN 2004.
“Findings: Captain Amosu, N/13041, was found not guilty and was discharged and acquitted, while Majors Oseni, Osawe and 2Lt Dogary were found guilty and awarded 10 years’ imprisonment.
“However, after the pronouncement of judgement, the accused officers marched out of the court premises with Captain K.S. Chime and proceeded to Captain J.E Akwaraonwu’s office.
“Thereafter, Major Oseni took an excuse from Captain Chime to use the toilet. At about 7pm same day, Major Oseni was nowhere to be found. A thorough search was carried out within and outside the mess’ premises, but the accused was not found.
“Meanwhile, Major Osawe and 2 Lt Dogary are currently under the Special Investigations Bureau’s custody pending further action. The Army Headquarters Garrrison has mounted a manhunt for the convicted officer. The Nigeria Police and DSS have also been contacted.”