A Special Court Martial of the Nigerian Army has demoted the Director, 68 Reference Hospital, Yaba, in Lagos State, Major General Patrick Falola, to the rank of Brigadier General.
The demotion follows the conviction of the Major General who was accused of unlawfully admitting students for clinical training without due clearance from the army headquarters.
Delivering judgment in the case against Major General Falola, who is also a Commander of the Armed Forces Hospital in Kano, President of the Special Court Martial, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, sentenced the accused officer to a reduction in rank from Major General to Brigadier General on count one of the charge.
He was, however, discharged and acquitted of the second count of fraudulent misapplication of the hospital’s property.
Lawyer to Major General Falola, Wing Commander Enokela Onyilo-Uloko [Rtd], however, criticised the conviction, saying it was a premeditated attempt to taint the unblemished record of his client whom he described as a distinguished medical officer with outstanding records.
“On hearing of this kind of conviction, we know that it is based on nothing. There is no law, no instruction put on the ground by the armed forces that the senior officer needs to take permission from the higher authority before allowing such training.
“No such law or instruction was tendered in evidence, but they are saying that he should use his initiative.
“When there is no law criminalising an act, when that act is done, it does not amount to criminal offence,” the lawyer said.
He further vowed to appeal the judgment of the Special Court Martial.
However, the judgement of the Army Court Martial is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Army Council.