Former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Sokoto, Maj.-Gen. Hakeem Otiki is being tried over alleged disappearance of N400 million.
The Court Martial inaugurated by the Army on Tuesday to trial him, commenced sitting at the Army Headquarters Officers Mess, Asokoro, Abuja.
It was presided over by Lt. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Army Headquarters.Gen. Otiki was brought into the Court in a white Military Ambulance. He was on a Wheel Chair.
The names of the soldiers who allegedly ran away with the said cash while on escort duty are: Corporal Gabriel Oluwaniyi, Corporal Mohammed Aminu, Corporal Haruna, Olusoji Joshua and Hayatudeen.The soldiers who were said to be on Escort Duty with a Very Important Person (VIP) allegedly absconded with the cash while travelling from Sokoto to Kaduna.
However, there was a mild drama inside the Hall where the Court Martial was holding as the lawyer representing Gen. Otiki raised objection on the leadership/Chairman of the Court, saying his client would not get justice, if Lt. Gen Adeosun sits as the chairman.
Raising the objection on behalf of Gen. Otiki, his counsel Okechukwu Adinu, said Lt. Gen. Adeosun should recuse himself because “we have strong feelings that he (Gen. Otiki) may not get good trial, and fair trial under your leadership in this court here”.
Adinu explained that Gen. Otiki would not get fair trial because some of the soldiers involved in the matter were security escorts he inherited from Lt. Gen. Adeosun when he (Otiki) took over as Core Commander of the Army Infantry Corps.
Adinu also told the Court that Gen. Otiki entered the Nigerian Defence Academy ahead of Lt. Gen Adeosun and at a particular time, he, Gen. Otiki, drilled Gen. Adeosun in the military tradition when he Adeosun committed an infraction. He alleged that Adeosun was yet bearing the grudge against Gen. Otiki.
Adinu explained that, from the relationship between the duo from the beginning, it was clear that there was animosity which Gen. Adeosun had been nursing against Gen. Otiki as Gen. Adeosun refused to acknowledge or reply the text message Gen Otiki sent to him recently when he was promoted to the rank of Lt. General.
Giving reasons Gen Adeosun should recuse himself from presiding over the court, Adinu said: “The reasons are as follows sir: It is a known fact that Gen. Otiki got into Nigerian Defense Academy on 10th January 1983, while you got in on 4th july 1983. So, he got in there before you.
“Sir and it’s a fact Sir, that Gen. Otiki here actually drilled you, he punished and drilled you, so. we have this feeling that the grudge then is still there, more so Sir, what is a known fact Sir that Gen. Otiki took over from you sir as the Core Commander Infantry last year and with due respect Sir, by the time we go to the proper trial certain issues will still come up.”
“By the time the issues are put on the front burner before the court, it is certain that Lt. Gen. Adeosun would be mentioned or that reference would be made to him as some the issues had to do the functions of the offices he held previously.”
Reporters were asked to leave the Hall where the Court Martial was taking place.