A General Court Martial that was convened by the Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy has sentenced a naval rating, Joseph Moses, to 10 years imprisonment for kidnap and manslaughter.
He was found guilty of kidnapping and causing the death of his child, Princess Moses, on February 2, 2012 in Lagos, Nigeria.
The accused, who is an ordinary seaman, in company with six others, kidnapped the deceased from her mother, Glory Yusuf, in Ajegunle area of Lagos.
It was widely reported in March that the accused allegedly connived with others to kidnap his three-month-old baby from his concubine and threw her into the lagoon at Liverpool area of Apapa.
The accused was found guilty of all the three counts of kidnapping, murder and misconduct preferred against him.
However, a case of murder could not be established against him and the court amended the charge to manslaughter which is an alternative charge to murder under the Second Schedule of the Armed Forces Act.
In a statement signed by the Command Information Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Jerry Omodara, in Lagos on Monday, the naval authorities found Joseph guilty as charged and sentenced him accordingly.
The statement read: “Joseph was found guilty on count one, which is kidnapping and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. He was also found guilty on count two, manslaughter, and sentenced to 10 years and two years imprisonment after being found guilty on count three, misconduct. The sentences are to run concurrently. The sentences are however, subject to confirmation by the Naval Headquarters.
“The Court Martial was opened to members of the public with several interest groups witnessing the procedure such as the media, office of the Public Defender and Lagos State Ministry of Justice. The accused was given the opportunity to defend himself and was represented by a lawyer from the Nigerian Navy and a civilian.
“The trial of the case according to NN is an indication that the service, while it will continue to reward gallantry and good behaviour has zero tolerance for indiscipline and will not shield any of its personnel that erred but will apply appropriate punishment.
“NN is determined to continue to ensure that its personnel are focused on the adequate protection of the nation’s territorial waters which is one of the key components of transformation agenda by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim.”