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Fact Check: Were 6 Igbo Christian soldiers secretly tried and executed by Nigerian Army? 

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Date: February 5, 2021

Claim: Emerging media report has alleged that six Igbo Christian Nigerian Soldiers were secretly tried and executed by the Nigerian Army under the watch of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai.

The online report claimed that the said soldiers were denied legal representation, before their execution, after a hasty secret trial.

A coalition of human rights activists from the South-East had alleged in a press statement that the victims were Igbo Christian soldiers attached to the Armoury Department of the Nigerian Army, in Abacha Barracks, Abuja.

The activists gave the names of those ‘secretly’ executed as Prince Ukwuoma, son of a traditional ruler; Ebube Isaiah, Amos Azubuike, Ekene Ebere, Moses Anyim and Godwin Uchendu.

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A report at the weekend claims that the Nigerian Army and the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.) have been dragged to the International Criminal Court, ICC, according to the lawyer at the forefront of the matter, Barrister E. R. Okoroafor

Finding: An Investigation by Penlight Center for New Media Innovation in conjunction with DAILY NIGERIAN using two way verification technique which includes speaking to independent inside sources and undercover findings reveal no evidence of any form of secret firing squad where people can be executed at the Abacha Barracks, Abuja where the incident allegedly occurred.

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Further findings into the Army database reveals that the only person bearing a related name is Lance Corporal Ukwuoma Princewill Chinedu, with Army number 2011NA/66/9180 in the Guards Brigade Unit of the Nigerian Army.

Our checks conclusively revealed that there is no Prince Ukwuoma, Ebube Isaiah, Amos Azubuike, Ekene Ebere, Moses Anyim and Godwin Uchendu in the database of the Nigerian Army.

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Senior military intelligence officers have further disclosed that a general court-martial set up to try erring soldiers or Army officers is normally constituted and announced publicly and must be made up of a President and other members, who conducts trial publicly, and not in secret.

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They wondered that if secret trials were not conducted secretly during military regimes, how then could the Army resort to same in a civilian and democratic dispensation.

“There have been instances where erring Army generals have been publicly tried at various court-martials, which were also legally constituted and doing same for erring junior officers, if any, ought to follow the same procedure,” said a senior military officer who preferred not to be named.
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