A Major in the Nigerian Army, Akeem Oseni, who was amongst the three army personnel jailed on Friday for 10 years over the death of a Lance Corporal, Benjamin Collins, has escaped.
Oseni, whose judgement was delivered by the General Court Martial(GCM)at Command Mess, Asokoro, Abuja, reportedly told court officials he was going to use the toilet before he escaped.
The Nigerian Army on Sunday launched a manhunt for the officer and sent a signal to all its units and formations to arrest Oseni.
The army signal stated that the police and the Department of State Services(DSS) had also been informed about Oseni’s escape.
The GCM had on Friday sentenced Majors Oseni, Ogbemudia Osawe, Captain Segun Amosu and Second Lieutenant Nuhu Dogary to 10 years’ imprisonment for torturing Lance Corporal Collins to death.
The officers were said to have moved Collins from a guardroom at Mogadishu Barracks, Abuja, where he was being held, to a bush near Ihejirika quarters along Abuja-Nyanya Expressway, where he was said to have been assaulted.
Collins had died after the assault, and his corpse was deposited at Asokoro General Hospital mortuary.
The three army personnel were found guilty of manslaughter by the GCM, which comprised the President, Brigadiers-General G. Umelo; S. Aliyu; A. Edet; N. Mohammed and Colonels K. Ndamadu; T. Agbor, and I. Tanko.
According to the army’s signal, the military, police and the DSS are searching for Oseni and have put all units and formations on alert.
The signal reads:“ The GCM sitting at Army Headquarters Command Mess, Abuja, delivered a judgement on the case between the Nigerian Army versus Major A.A. Oseni, N/12127; Major O.U. Osawe, N/12004; Captain S.E. Amosu, N/13041; and Second Lieutenant N.B. Dogary, N/16390. The accused officers were charged with manslaughter, punishable under Section 105 of the AFA CAP A20 LFN 2004.
“Findings: Captain Amosu, N/13041, was found not guilty and was discharged and acquitted, while Majors Oseni, Osawe and 2Lt Dogary were found guilty and awarded 10 years’ imprisonment.
“However, after the pronouncement of judgement, the accused officers marched out of the court premises with Captain K.S. Chime, and proceeded to Captain J.E Akwaraonwu’s office.
“Thereafter, Major Oseni took an excuse from Captain Chime to use the toilet. At about 7pm same day, Major Oseni was nowhere to be found. A thorough search was carried out within and outside the mess’ premises, but the accused was not found.
“Meanwhile, Major Osawe and 2 Lt Dogary are currently under the Special Investigations Bureau’s custody pending further action. The Army Headquarters Garrrison has mounted a manhunt for the convicted officer. The Nigeria Police and DSS have also been contacted.”