- Maj.-Gen. Hakeem Otiki in a wheelchair before the court martial
The Nigerian Army has commenced the trial of a former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division in Sokoto, Major General Hakeem Otiki, for alleged diversion of N400 million.
Specifically, the Army has filed a 5-count charge before the General Court Martial (GCM) sitting at the Army Officers’ Mess in Asokoro, Abuja.
While three of the counts border on disobedience to standing order, two others revolve round offences in relation to public property (stealing).
New Telegraph gathered from insider sources, that the accused officer, who was arraigned before the Lieutenant-General Lamidi Adeosun-led 7-man GCM, pleaded “not guilty” to the criminal charge.
Consequently, the GCM adjourned till Wednesday for continuation of trial, wherein the Army will call the witnesses it has lined up to prove its case against the former GOC.
A highly-placed source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said the defence counsel did not raise objection to the charges read to the senior officer.
“The prosecution has slammed a 5-count charge on the former GOC, who was arraigned yesterday (Monday).
“Out of the five charges, three borders on disobedience to standing order, while two charges relate to stealing, that is what is known as offences in relation to public property.
“Although, the defendant pleaded not guilty, he did not object to the charge before the court.
“Subsequently, the court adjourned until Wednesday, October 2, for the prosecution to call witnesses”, the source said.
The GCM was inaugurated on Tuesday, September 17, upon the issuance of a Convening Order by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.
The 7-man court had adjourned until Monday, for the arraignment of the senior officer.
The senior Army officer is standing trial over the alleged diversion of the huge cash by five soldiers, who were on escort duty from Sokoto, his Area of Responsibility (AoR) to Kaduna, where they were said to have absconded.