A sad end

For the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Sokoto, Major-General Hakeem Otiki, what promised to be a glorious 35-year career in the Nigerian Army ended on a rather sad note.

General Otiki has been found guilty of theft and other charges by the General Court Martial (GCM) set up by the Nigerian Army to try him.

The GCM, headed by Lt-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, the Chief of Policy and Plans of the Nigerian Army, at its sitting at the army headquarters garrison in Abuja, found Gen. Otiki guilty of disobedience to service orders, missing funds and theft of public property.

It ordered that all monies recovered from him by the Special Investigation Bureau, including $6,600, be returned to the coffers of the Nigerian Army.

The same applies to another N150million which the former GOC allegedly could not account for.

Gen. Otiki was consequently demoted to Brigadier-General and is to lose two years seniority. Above al³, the GCM ordered his dismissal with “disgrace and dishonour.” The sentences are however subject to approval by the Army Council.

Gen. Otiki was charged under the Armed Forces Act (AFA) after soldiers in his detail reportedly stole about N400 million. His trial started in September, 2019, following the disappearance of the soldiers he sent to transport the cash to Kaduna by road, from where a military aircraft would then fly it to Abuja.

But the soldiers absconded with the money during a stop in Kaduna and subsequently deserted the army. Gen. Otiki was then placed under house arrest until his trial by the court-martial began about nine months ago.

But it would appear the former GOC was the architect of his own misfortune. The court martial verdict was only the most recent of his culpability in infractions in the last six months alone.

Earlier in January, Gen. Otiki was ordered by the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to forfeit $376,120 to the Federal Government.

He was also said to be having major interests in some business concerns, against public service rules and regulations. He denied this though.

The Nigerian Army has done well to punish not just one of its own, but a senior member of the army for that matter, for corruption and other infractions.

Read the full article in The Nation

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