#Mutiny: Why the 12 military soldiers are condemned to die

Military-courtTwelve soldiers were on Monday sentenced to death by a nine-member military tribunal in Abuja for attacking their commanding officer while on duty.

The soldiers, accused of mutiny, – a situation in which a group of people (soldiers) refuse to obey orders from their commander and try to take control of themselves – a crime in the military which is punishable by death, had on May 14, 2014, rebelled against their commanding officer during one of the battles involving military officers and insurgents in Borno state. Some of the soldiers were said to have fired shots at the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division of Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Ahmed Mohammed, in Maiduguri.

Mohammed had to take cover as they aimed their guns at him – firing bullet-holes in his armour-plated staff car – but he was not injured.

Of the 18 soldiers accused of violation, 12 were convicted and sentenced to death, one was sentenced to 28 days in jail with hard labour, while 5 were discharged and acquitted.

Why these soldiers revolted
The convicted soldiers were angry after a convoy of military men were ambushed on a road frequently targeted by Islamist Boko Haram militants.

Also, there were reports last month of a group of soldiers in the north-east refusing to fight Boko Haram until they received better equipment. Front-line troops often complain that they lack adequate weapons and equipment to face insurgents, while others complained of not being paid or properly fed.

Coupled with the loss of colleagues, closed friends and family members, these probably triggered the human in them. For a second they forgot the rules of the military, which they had signed up for and let emotions override the directives of their commanding officer.

Mutiny is death
The Ultimate Military Rule is “Obey First Before You Complain”. Essentially, Military officers have no right to express their personal thoughts or feelings once a command is given by their commanding officer.

Some of the crimes punishable by death which are regarded as mutiny are;
-Coup d’etat
-show of cowardice while on duty
-Forcing a safeguard
-Striking a superior officer
-Disobeying in such a manner as to show a wilful defiance of authority or command given personally by his superior officer

This is not the first time military officers have been sentenced to death for mutiny in Nigeria. On 13th February 1976, Lieutenant-colonel Bukur Suka Dimka led a coup which claimed the lives of three officers; General Murtala Muhammed, Head of State, Col. Ibrahim Taiwo, Governor of Kwara State and Lt. Akintunde Akinsehinwa, ADC to Muhammed. This led to the arrest and subsequent execution of Dimka and his co-conspirators.

Also, on 22 April 1990, Gideon Orka staged a coup to unseat the government of Ibrahim Babangida. The coup failed. Following that failure, there was a trial and the largest execution of coup plotters in Nigeria’s history. Sixty-nine soldiers of various ranks were executed by firing squad.

Even our colonial masters have not been spared of the occasional mutiny. The biggest wartime mutiny (disobedience) in the history of Britain’s armed forces occurred in September 1943. Military officers of the 51st Highland Division and the 50th Northumbrian Division who had been injured in the North African campaign were told that they were to be returned to their colleagues in Sicily, but once they boarded a ship, they were told they weren’t actually being returned to their original units at all and were instead being taken to reinforce US troops in the fight for Salerno. A total of 600 men refused to fight. It later transpired that the order to send them to Salerno had been given in error. 191 men were found guilty of treason, and three sergeants were sentenced to death. In 1982, the British government refused to offer a pardon, stating, “There are no grounds for doing so which could not be applied to many other mutineers and deserters . . . Nor which would not denigrate the actions of the many millions who fought bravely and obeyed orders at all times.”

So, there is no two way about the decision taken by the court martial in Abuja on the convicted soldiers. Although the charges were denied by the convicts, once again, in the military, it’s obedience before complain. These soldiers will have to face their death sentence before they can ‘have the chance to defend their actions’.
Court President, General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo said that while the sentences were subject to confirmation by Nigeria’s military authorities, there was no doubt about the seriousness of the offence.

The sentencing panel took into account the “likely effect on counter-insurgency operations” of the incident as well as its “implications on national security”.

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From Analogue to Digital Tv – Is there a possibility of Nigeria switching?

The rapid movement of the world into a digital age, is slowly catching up with Africa. Analogue TV, a major transmitted signal for 90 per cent of homes in Africa is set to be phased out by 2015.

Ovum Limited, an independent analyst and consultancy firm, in London, have however predicted that the proposed date by most African countries including Nigeria, as mandated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to switch off analogue terrestrial TV signals will not be achieved as a result of a paucity of funds being made available by governments to roll out digital TV infrastructure, and insufficient supplies of set-top boxes (an information appliance device that generally contains a TV-tuner input and displays output connects to a television set and an external source of signal e.g a Cable TV decoder).

Analogue was the way television signals were broadcast at the beginning of the television age. These signals are described as inefficient and costly to maintain, unlike digital signals which allow delivery of DVD quality pictures and sound. Digital signals also allow broadcasters to offer more channels and a range of new and different services.

The report by Ovum stated that despite the unavailability of the right infrastructure for the switch, many governments and regulators in Africa have stressed that the deadline must be met at all costs. As a consequence, numerous sub-Saharan TV markets are considering switching off analogue TV signals before the audience has transitioned to digital. This would mean many homes will lose TV reception, leading to advertisers switching away from TV and, in turn, a decline in TV advertising revenue.

“In Tanzania, the switchover process was pushed through recklessly, with damaging results. Thousands of homes lost their ability to watch TV and advertising revenue suffered as a result. But this mentality to rush the process persists, not least in Kenya which seems intent on repeating the same mistakes,” Adam Thomas, Ovum’s Lead Analyst for Global TV Markets says.

Ovum research also found an understandable eagerness among regulators to raise revenue from the sale of the digital TV signal spectrum as another factor behind the rushed switchover.

Speaking on the dangers of a rushed switch off, Ismail Patel, media and entertainment tracker across Asian, Middle Eastern, and African regions, said; “While the sale of spectrum will benefit the mobile sector, regulators could harm the TV business if they act with undue haste to get their hands on potentially lucrative spectrum. African governments and regulators need to accept that the 2015 deadline will be missed and shift their focus on to getting the process completed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Ovum believes that forcing through analogue switch-off is ultimately counter-productive.”

Another factor that could affect the switch of Analogue TV users to digital terrestrial TV (DTT), is the domination by the pay-DTT service operators e.g StarTimes and Multichoice. This is a major issue because people will be less willing to transition from analogue to digital TV if they believe this will mean they have to start paying for TV.

According to Thomas: “Early focus on pay DTT has created a misconception among the sub-Saharan audience that DTT is intrinsically a paid service. Once there is awareness that DTT can be received without payment then free-to-air DTT will be the overwhelming choice for most homes and the transition from analog to digital will be better placed to proceed. This may mean StarTimes and Multichoice will be disappointed with the number of pay DTT subscribers that they can ultimately attract.”

Many countries across the World have completely switched from Analogue to DTT (USA, England, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan), while countries like North Korea and Laos have stated they have no intentions of switching . In Africa, although looking very most unlikely, Kenya and Algeria are set to complete switching this year.

Nigeria flagged off her analogue switch in Jos on June 30th, earlier this year. The switch had been scheduled to be completed by December 2014 but was later rescheduled to the end of 2015.

Former acting executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Stephen Bello, revealed that Nigeria is set to miss the June 2015 digital television switchover as the government was yet to facilitate local manufacture or massive importation of set-top boxes which would enable the present analogue TV sets to receive digital signals if there was a switch over in 2015.

According to him, if the switch is forced, transmitting stations may be able to broadcast digital TV signals, but 90 per cent of television sets will not be able to receive the signals.

The ASFF press conference experience

I and Mrs. Muna Iyanam (President of WIFTIN)

My face was graced with a BIG GRIN as I sat in this room. How it got there? Well, I was at my very first press conference for the first ever AFRICAN STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL (ASFF), at UNILAG’s Mass Communication department. Sitting around me were fellow reporters who were also there to cover the meeting.

By the way, I am a media man, won’t necessarily call myself a reporter or journalist. Let’s say I’m into new media and my name is Emmanuel Chidiogo (@empexy).

I’m at this press briefing for the film festival which will be coming up on the 7th of September, 2012, and every journalist in the room is putting up a serious face like we were in ancient Greece and about to battle in an arena.

The reporters around me were professionals (those who know their onions). Some of them had gadgets that I’m only opportune to see on TV. Yeah, I’m kind of new in the field of reporting and the guys with the sophisticated gadgets were from Silverbird Television (STV).

Now, why am I stressing that these guys were with gadgets I had not seen before? It isn’t far fetched because I was there with just my Lucky biro, little jotter and my camera phone (Nokia C7, which I thought could do all I needed). Am I here for the same purpose as these guys? Was the question that popped into my head. Oh well, I took a deep breath and looked around just to be sure I was in the right room only to find all their faces in some Seriousness. Jheeezzz!!!! A phrase flashed through my mind, which was spoken by the notorious joker in the “Dark Knight”; “why so serious, let’s put a smile on that face”. After all, it’s just a press briefing or are journalists meant to be serious always and not to recognise colleagues around them?

You might want to ask if I did try to strike a conversation with one of them, of course! I tried but the response? well, lets just say it was SERIOUS.

Howbeit, with my little gadgets, I was able to achieve my goal. It was just another experience added to my piggy bank of experiences and I also met a long time inspiration in the entertainment reporting world, Derin Ajao, as well as Muna Iyanam (President of WIFTIN). 🙂

Tips for newbies: When you are among professionals, don’t feel like an underdog, they were once like you.

Celebrity violence: The downside of fame

Merriam Webster defines a celebrity as “the state of being celebrated: fame”, while violence is defined as an “exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse “.

Celebrity violence, would be the act of celebrating an exertion of physical force abusively. Simply put, the abuse of fame.

Recent uprise in the violent act of our celebrities, has left much to be questioned about the threat which they pose to the next generation; knowing that young chaps look to them as role models.

Some of our celebrities have perfected the act of exercising their God given strength in a rather unenterprising way.

In the light of these, Zaaki Azzay, the “Torch light” trademarked musician, is the recent celebrity in that category.

Hadiza Azzay, the estranged wife of Zaaki, revealed that her husband to whom she had been married to for 8 years before their recent separation on April 17th, 2012, allegedly made her into a featherweight punching bag.

The 29-year-old Hadiza said that there were times when she was battered to a point of unconsciousness which made her resolve to running away with her kids. The singer, however, refuted her claims.

K-Solo (music producer/singer) and Frank Edoho are not left out on the spoils of domestic violators. Frank, who is the anchor of the popular TV show “Who wants to be a millionaire”, was reported by his wife of 10yrs, Katherine, who is also a broadcaster, to be a woman beater. According to Katherine, her ex-husband was hot tempered and she was always on the receiving end of his anger. Frank however, denied the allegations.

Kikelomo Akinkunmi, wife of the aforementioned music producer, revealed that she allegedly lost her pregnancy due to combos from the producer. The couple who only got married in November 2011 ended their marriage in May 2012. All claims were denied by K-Solo.

Other celebrities with domestic violence reports include Davido and Ikechukwu; The later got involved in a club fight in 2010, while the “Dami Duro” crooner was recently reported to have beaten up a lady alongside a cab driver; an allegation which was denied by the musician.

Celebrity violence is not limited to Nigerian entertainers alone as foreign entertainers such as Chris Brown, Drake, Kofi Olomide, Mike Tyson, O.J Simpson and a host of others, have also been in on the act.

American pop/RnB singer, Chris, was recently involved in a club fight with fellow American musician/rapper Drake over suspected singer Rihanna; while Congolese music sensation, Kofi, got involved in a fracas at a hotel in Kinshasa, his home country.

While some of these celebrities feel a sense of remorse after their uncultured act and make public apology, others don’t. Thus, the question of fame management arises. Are these celebrities expressing who they are or is it the pressure of fame?

Howbeit, celebrities are not supernaturals but mere humans like you and I. They are nothing close to perfect, only God is.

In as much as we want them to be that perfect icon that we all picture them to be, they also have flaws. Nevertheless, it is said, or it should be said that “of great fame, comes great responsibility”.