A Nigerian Army court-martial on Wednesday dismissed a Regimental Medical Doctor after he was found guilty of having sex with his fellow officer’s wife, military officials have told PREMIUM TIMES.
The court slammed a two-count charge of illicit sexual relationship and unprofessional conduct on Lieutenant Musa Mustapha Bature, and accused him of taking advantage of a colleague’s wife who was supposed to be his patient.
The court-martial sat at the Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment of the 2 Division, Ojo, Ibadan in Oyo State.
The 38-year old officer, whose fate would be finally decided by a military council, which statutorily ratifies such sentences, reportedly confessed to the crime, and pleaded with military authorities to give him corrective punishment rather than a terminal one, PREMIUM TIMES was told.
Sources familiar with the trial said the accused, a native of Kebbi State, had a notorious history of sexual indiscipline in his four years of service. His conduct was recently brought to the attention of the army authority.
The doctor’s offence, namely indecent professional misconduct and having sex with a fellow soldier’s wife, contravene Sections 79 and 93 of the Armed Forces Act CAP A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. The law prescribes jail term and dismissal from service with dishonour.
Delivering his judgement, the President of the Court Martial, Brigadier General Raji, who is also the Commander of 52 Division Signals, said the court opted for a lesser sentence of dismissing the doctor because the convict was a young officer who got commissioned into the Nigeria Army only in 2012.
He said in his sentence: “Given the level of treachery and the betrayal of trust you displayed by having sexual relation with your colleague’s wife, the court is tempted to award you a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The Court has however looked that you were only commissioned to the Nigerian Army in 2012, you may therefore not be well grounded in the traditions of the Nigerian Army. Ignorance, however, does not excuse your despicable behaviour. So therefore, the court sentences you as follows:-
“On Count 1, dismissal with disgrace and dishonour. On Count 2, dismissal from the armed forces.
“Note that these sentences are subject to confirmation by the Army Council and the sentences are to run concurrently.”
According to revelations made during the court-martial, the officer’s last sexual escapade involved the wife of a fellow officer whom he took advantage of when she visited his clinic for consultation on a gynaecological case.
Officials said after seeing the newly-married woman from Yobe State, whose identity they asked should be protected, the doctor insisted on conducting a more detailed examination of her.
Our sources say the young doctor disregarded prescribed medical ethics requiring that such examination be carried out in the presence of a chaperon.
The officer’s wife served as one of the prosecution witnesses in the case. In her testimony, according to details obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the woman gave a detailed account of how the doctor sexually stimulated her before they had sex in the man’s office.
She told the court that the doctor later invited her in the evening of the same day to his house so she could pick an ointment he earlier prescribed for her treatment. There, they engaged in another round of intercourse, she narrated.
The young woman said she reported to the barrack’s chaplain after becoming crushed by the weight of her guilt.
Below is the full text of the judgment of the president of the Martial Court on the matter, exclusively made available to PREMIUM TIMES:
Brigadier General Raji:
“This Honourable court as composed has listened to all parties in the matter, including the addresses by the counsels on both sides. The court is therefore well acquainted with the facts to enable it arrive at the decision of the learned judge advocates. It is my privileged to announce the decisions of the court in this matter.
“Count-1:- The Accused is charged with having sexual relations with the service personnel spouse, punishable under section 79 of the Armed Forces Act. CAP A20 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The issue for determination:
This honourable court is required to determine whether the accused has committed the offence by having sexual relations with a service personnel spouse.
The court finds in the affirmative; the accused confessed to the offence in the presence of witnesses.
Decision:- The court therefore finds the accused guilty Count One as charged.
“Count-2:- The accused is charged with the disgraceful conduct of an indecent nature punishable under section 93 of the Armed Forces Act, CAP A 20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
The Issues for Determination: This honourable court is required to determine whether the accused has committed the offence of disgraceful conduct of an indecent nature. The particulars of the offence were by the accused being the unit Regimental Medical Officer, committed an act of gross indecency with his patient – Prosecution witness 2 – by fingering of her vagina under the pretext of conducting medical examination without the presence of a chaperon. In our opinion, the prosecution failed to proof that the vaginal examination was a pretext for fingering the patient and not the necessary procedure in the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease. He could have verified this by seeking the opinion of an independent medical practitioner. If the prosecutor has been able to prove that the vaginal examination was a pretext of fingering the prosecution witness-2, they might have been able to sustain a charge of disgraceful conduct of an indecent nature.
“In the opinion of this honourable court, the prosecutor was only able to prove that the accused person conducted a vaginal examination on a patient of opposite sex in the absence of a chaperon. Conducting an intrusive procedure such as vaginal examination in the absence of a chaperon contravenes the code of ethics of the medical and dental council of Nigeria under the rules of professional conducts for medical and dental profession.
“We conclude there that the accused acted unethically. The matter should be referred to the Nigeria Medical Association. However, by contravening the ethics of his profession, the accused person acted in a manner unbecoming of a gentleman capable of bringing the Nigeria Army into disrepute. He conducted himself in a manner prejudicial to good order and service discipline; and therefore contravened section 103 of the Armed Forces Act. The court therefore invoked section 142 of the Armed Forces Act, finds the accused person guilty of the alternate offence of misconduct of prejudice to the service discipline.
“At this point, before sentence is passed, we will like to hear mitigations on behalf of the accused, if any.”
In a move to help the accused get a soft landing, his lawyer Major Femi Oyebanji (rtd) presented his somehow impressive Record of Service that was obtained from the office of the military secretary, Army, to help mitigate the already known punishment for his conviction.
“Here is a brief of Lieutenant MM Bature, N/14543”, said Major Oyebanji. “Lieutenant Musa Mustapha Bature was born on 21 May, 1977 at Yawuri, and hails from Yawuri local government area of Kebbi state. He was granted a direct short service commission on 10 August, 2012 on the rank of Lieutenant, with seniority on the same rank on 10 August 2012. He is of the medical corp, Courses attended: Nil.
He holds a bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery.
Summary of Course report: Nil.
Promotion history: Nil
Appointments held within the periods he has served:
– RMO 81 Battalion
– RMO 19 Battalion
– He was posted to HQ 2 Div for Jurisdiction on 18 April 2016.
“Command Experience:- As RMO 19 Battalion he was described as a calm and articulate officer who was noted to have good grasp of service knowledge and unit regimentation. He was said to have rehabilitated some wards that were said to have been in bad state in the unit MRS. He was noted to have conducted series of lectures and enlightenment programmes on scourge of Ebola virus disease. He was observed to have paid much attention to the troops health conditions and issues of public health and sanitation were properly addressed. He was also reported to have ensured proper functionality of the MRS by making drugs available for personnels and their families. He was commended for his community service by extending medical services to the local populace whenever authorised and this gesture was seen to have improved the unit’s civil-military relations.
“Operational Experience:- As RMO LIbat One… he was said to have set up a medical station for the unit and properly managed all health related cases brought before him. He was noted to have establish contact with the SHQ medical cell and was able to take series of assistance to the troops, especially for referral cases. In the mission area, he was reported to have organised periodic fumigation of the unit locality. He was noted for carrying out free bi-weekly consultancy services for the locals and host communities to foster civil-military cooperation in the unit’s AOR. He was remarked to have been appreciated by the local communities.
“Disciplinary Records:- He was posted to 2 Div for jurisdiction on allegation of sexual related offences.
“Miscellaneous: He is married and blessed with a child. He enjoys reading and watching movies.
The defence counsel further pleaded with the president of court to give the convicted officer a lesser or no punishment at all as he argued that his sack may permanently affect his future career.