Amendment of Armed Forces Act: Minister and defence chief supports review

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Mansur Dan Ali
Mansur Dan Ali - Nigeria's Minister of Defence

By Isa Sago

ABUJA, Nigeria (TVAN) – In view of the need to amend the military justice system, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, has supported the amendment of Armed Forces Act (AFA). He stressed that the review would restore hope and dignity to the armed forces community and their personnel.

He also emphasized that the extant enactment does not  statutorily give benefits and entitlements to members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria that were killed or wounded in action.

General Gabriel Olonisakin
General Gabriel Olonisakin – Chief of Defence Staff

While speaking at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on the review of the Armed Forces Act organised by the Ministry of Defence, the CDS said this exercise would consider possible amendments to Armed Forces Act to improve on alleged human rights violations by the military.

He also added that another area of concern was the issue of appearance of lawyers in the Armed Forces before civil courts, adding that their lawyers were being restricted to appear only before courts-martial and even where courts-martial decisions go on appeal, the appeals are handled by civilians that did not take part in the trial.He noted that several courts-martial decisions are being reversed on technical grounds to the detriment of enforcement of discipline, which is a cardinal requirement of any military service.On same matter, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, throw his weight behind  the need to review the Armed Forces Act to bring it in line with what obtains in developed democracies, believing that the final outcome of the review would enhance and straighten the entire armed forces.After the declaring the event open, the minister said that vital areas that should be looked into, among others, is the command influence in the composition and administration of the military justice system.