Nigerian Army Court Martial headed by Arikpo Ekubi on Tuesday sentenced to death by firing squad Private Soldier, Azunna Mmaduabuchi for deliberately killing his superior.
Azunna killed his superior, lieutenant Babankaka Ngorgi, the adjutant of 202-battalion on July, 2020 in Bama, Borno State.
According to the military court martial, Azunna deliberately killed the newly wedded officer.
Adding that Azunna ran straight to the adjutant after returning from a patrol and opened fire on Ngorgi at close range with nine rounds of ammunition emptied on the deceased.
Azunna insisted that it was accidental discharge. That the shots fired at his superior when he was about drinking water and his superior was said to be making calls.
Though, no justification for murder but if Azunna deliberately killed lieutenant Ngorgi as decided by the military court martial, what could be the motive behind Azunna action.
Could it be that the Adjutant of the 202-Battalion was high handed and oppressive in the management of the soldiers.
Reports indicated that Azunna decided to take the life of his superior when Ngorgi refused to grant him welfare pass.
Azunna was said to have pleaded with the late Ngorgi to allow him travel to the state capital to sort out his salary issues but the deceased officer reportedly denied the request.
Military authority is believed to be very oppressive and irrational in the management of soldiers hence Nigeria loosing the war to Boko Haram on daily basis.
In October 2019, more than 20 soldiers were declared wanted for reportedly running away from Boko Haram battle field.
The soldiers decided to take to their heels after Boko Haram slaughtered 18 of the soldiers at Gubio in Borno State.
Action of the deserted soldiers may not be unconnected with the seemingly irrational decision of some military commanders at vulnerable point; putting the lives of troopers at risk.
Obviously, in July 2020, Military Authority dismissed over 300 soldiers for deserting the Operation Lafiya Dole counter terrorism operations in the Northeast among other reasons.
Some of the soldiers were dismissed from 18 Task Force Battalion, Kaura Cross, Baga in Borno State for refusing to board an articulated truck from Maimalari Cantonment to Baga in December 2015.
The military authority fails to tell Nigerians that the dismissed soldiers never participated in the victory of the soldiers retaking Baga from Boko Haram.
The offence of the dismissed soldiers were that they decided to add their own ideas which ought to be their professional liberty to the successful military operations without loosing their lives which is their constitutional right to self defence and right to life as it may apply.
The dismissed soldiers fully aware of the way and manner the Boko Haram insurgents ambush military trucks and kill soldiers in the vulnerable environment, refused to use the articulated truck as means of transporting to Baga.
Instead they reportedly trek for five days from Maimalari to Baga.
But the commanding officer, Col S. Omolori charged them for desertion and dismissed the soldiers.
High handedness, oppressive and tyranny of Unit commanders may also be the reason why a convoy of Nigeria Soldiers were ambushed and the soldiers killed by Boko Haram in early 2014.
The killing of the troopers by Boko Haram forced some soldiers to abscond the Boko Haram war front while some others attempted to kill their commanding officer of 7th Division, Maiduguri, General Amadu Mohammed.
54 of the soldiers were accused and sentenced to death by military court martial for refusing to fight Boko Haram.
While 12 others were accused and sentenced to death by the same military court martial for attempted murder of General Amadu Mohammed.
The soldiers reportedly attempted to kill General Amadu Mohammed immediately the commanding officer arrived the base to see dozens of soldiers in a convoy ambushed and killed by Boko Haram.
The angry soldiers were said to throw stones and fire bullets into the air and also fired bullets at General Amadu Mohammed armour plated staff car.
The death sentence placed on the 54 deserters and the 12 attempted murderers were later commuted to ten years imprisonment by Military Authority after series of public outcry and legal campaign by Femi Falana.
This, there is need for military unit commanders and other heads to strengthen their level of personnel management skills and halt any form of oppressive and offensive way of managing situation most especially in the battle field.
Operational situation demands that all staff must be encouraged and allowed to carry out their institutional responsibility successfully in a manner that makes them less depending on their manager or commander.
Because there is no authority in the face of death. Only mutual understanding rules.
The act whereby a soldier is not allowed to input his own opinion or option on operation that borders on his safety and life due to the outdated ‘Obey Before Complain’ deceptive military orientation should be discarded.
Terrorists as a very intelligent and highly connected set of people may and can easily take advantage of the military orientation and unknowingly target some military commanders; who in turn may be helping the terrorist group to send our soldiers to early grave.
You gain more from staff when you help as manager or commander to teach and allow them to take decisive own decision in the interest of the organization or the country while on battle field without depending or waiting for an order from you.
Everything must not be you. As a matter of fact, nothing should be from you.
Every success recorded should be seen coming from personal exceptional efforts of staff under you and not you.
The success of every staff is already your success, so the idea of who takes the glory should not distract you at all.
The fundamentals of effective personnel management states; staff work and achieve more successes when they are in control of their job.
Such practice builds self confidence, makes them proud and thus makes them developed the hunger to achieve more.