There have been an uproar on social media following the news that a female soldier who accepted the marriage proposal of a corper was in the Nigerian Army’s detention.
In a now-viral video, a male member of the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp in Yikpata, Kwara State was seen getting down on his knees with a ring stretched towards a female soldier, Hannah Sofiat.
Speaking with The Punch, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed that the female officer will be penalised for violating military laws by getting involved in a public display of an illicit relationship with a paramilitary trainee.
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He said, “The female soldier in question violated the following rules of the NA: fraternisation while on official duty at the NYSC camp. That is, indulging in an amorous relationship with a trainee. Personnel must have served for three years before he/she can qualify for marriage. She disobeyed the Armed Forces of Nigeria standing guidelines and directives for the use of Social Media. Indulging in romance while in uniform.Her conduct was prejudicial to good order and military discipline”.
A widespread reaction has since trailed this move by the Nigerian Army with many condemning the arrest.
Presidential aspirant, Omoyele Sowore has initiated an online petition, #FreeSofiat to demand the immediate release of the 24-year-old soldier.
A statement on the petition site read in part, “We are asking the Nigerian army to release a 24-year-old female soldier, Private Sofiyat Akinlabi, who has been detained by the military after she accepted this innocuous marriage proposal from her fiance and youth corp member at the orientation camp in Kwara state.
The Headquarters of the Nigerian Army authorities have denied Sofiat’s family members access to her and refused to provide her with food, sanitary materials, and medical care at the military cantonment in Sobi Barracks, where she is being held, according to her family.
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The young female soldier is been detained under unhealthy conditions in a “guardroom” reportedly meant for male soldiers, according to her family”.
The target of the petition was 100 signatories, however, as at the time of filing this report over 502 signatories have been recorded