Nigerian Soldier Rots In Jail For 19 Months Over Alleged Manslaughter As Military Drags Trial

Dennis Ulajiru, a Nigerian Army personnel, is currently languishing in jail after he was arrested since March 2020 but the military authorities have refused to deliver judgment in his matter after a seventh arraignment.

The brother of the soldier, who paid a visit to his brother in detention, told SaharaReporters that Ulajiru had been detained since March 27, 2020 after he mistakenly ran over a fellow soldier who laid in the middle of the road after being drunk.

He explained that the victim, who he learnt was drunk and had mental issues, was lying in the middle of the road some hours past midnight.

According to him, Ulajiru and a friend were just returning from town and had driven over the soldier unknowingly.

He said the pair alighted from the vehicle to check what had happened only to discover that it was a fellow soldier.

He said other soldiers on patrol who met them at the spot had quickly rushed the victim to the hospital.

He added that the soldier died two hours later while Ulajiru and his friend were arrested, saying the vehicle was also impounded in the process.

He noted that the friend was later released but Ulajiru’s arraignment before the military court was delayed till 17th February 2021 and he had been subsequently arraigned several times with the last one on September 30.

He also said his brother alleged that the military authorities were doing everything possible to ensure he doesn’t get justice.

He said, “My brother, Sergeant Dennis Ulajiru was involved in an accident that led to the death of a soldier. He was arrested in March 2020 and for several months, he was not arraigned before the court until February, 17 2021.

“Since then, he has been going and September 30 was the seventh court hearing. What happened was it was an accident that involved a fellow soldier. The soldier was lying in the middle of the road and my brother and a friend were driving, the victim was drunk and had a mental issue; that was why he laid in the middle of the road.

“My brother was with a friend and they were coming from town so after driving past, they felt they ran over something, so according to him, his friend went to check and came back to inform him it was a human being.

“He told me he immediately ran back to check the victim, and shortly after this, patrol officers came there and asked what happened. They carried the man, put him inside the vehicle and took him to the hospital, he died two hours after. The incident happened in March last year.

“They impounded Dennis’ vehicle and apprehended him. He has since been in detention for 1 year, six months now and the delay is due to the court-martial. He told me that the way the martial operates, it can be very biased and that the military authorities are trying to make him stay there for long. After seven hearings now, there is no judgement yet. He’s just there, locked up in prison.”

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