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The Nigerian Army has commuted the death sentences it passed on 66 solders earlier this year to 10 years imprisonment.
This was contained in the statement by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, on Saturday.
The army had in January and March 2015 in separate courts martial sentenced the 66 soldiers to death by firing squad for mutiny and other charges.
“The soldiers were arraigned on several count charges that include criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mutiny, mutiny, attempt to commit an offence (murder), disobedience to particular orders, insubordinate behaviour and false accusation, among others,” the statement, which noted that 71 soldiers were tried, said.
“They were tried, discharged on some charges but found guilty and convicted on other charges which included mutiny. Out of the number, 66 were found guilty on some of the count charges and sentenced to death, while five were discharged and acquitted and one was given 28 days imprisonment with hard labour.
It added that the cases of other soldiers were being reviewed and would be made public once the appropriate reviews are completed.
The decision to commute the sentence of the soldiers, the army said, following series of petitions.
The petitions caused the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to order a legal review of the cases.
“The directive was carried out to examine the merit of each case. It was on the basis of the review and recommendations that the Chief of Army Staff commuted the death sentences of the 66 soldiers to 10 years jail term. The sentences are to run concurrently,” the army said.