More than 50 Nigerian soldiers sentenced to death last year by a military court have been left to fend for themselves since April, an investigative report by Premium Times says.
Some of the convicted soldiers told a reporter they had been feeding themselves, as well as providing their basic necessities, for over eight months.
The soldiers are being detained in two groups of 30 and 24 – with the latter group being held in an underground facility.
“They said we should feed ourselves,” said one of the soldiers detained at Arakan Barracks in Lagos.
“We survive by giving our ATM cards and the pins to our colleagues to help us withdraw money from our accounts which we use for our upkeep.
“We have been using our money to buy food, soap, and other things.”
The 54 soldiers, who served in 111 Special Forces, were convicted in December 2014 for conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny.
They were sentenced to death by a firing squad.
Femi Falana, who represented the convicted soldiers at the military court martial, confirmed the soldiers had been abandoned and insisted it was the duty of the military authorities to feed the convicts.
“They ought to have been taken to prison since February this year,” said Falana.
“They were simply abandoned because the system has collapsed. This is just one example of the many violations in the military.”
Falana said he had brought the soldiers’ plight to the attention of the military hierarchy but got no explanation.
“Once they have been condemned, there’s no longer any regard for them.”
Colonel Sani Usman, the Nigerian army spokesperson, declined to comment in detail on the matter, saying he had “no information.”
“There is no way that could be unless there was a problem, like a communication gap,” said Usman.
The condemned soldiers were found guilty of refusing to help recapture three towns that had been seized by Boko Haram in August 2014.
The soldiers said they had not received enough weapons and ammunition to take on the terrorist group.
Their death sentences came shortly after the Nigerian government moved to scrap the capital punishment moratorium in 2013 after seven execution free years.
Details on Premium Times.