Over 1,000 persons have signed a petition asking the Nigerian army to release Sofiyat Akinlabi, the female soldier detained for accepting a corps member’s marriage proposal.
Akinlabi and the corps member went viral on social media for engaging in lovey-dovey moments at the Yikpata orientation camp of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Kwara.
The army had earlier said the soldier was detained for violating the military’s rules of engagement.
But the petition, initiated by Omoyele Sowore, Nigerian activist, condemned the army’s handling of the soldier’s case.
The petition also questioned why the army would detain Akinlabi for the marriage proposal when “male soldiers were not punished” for doing same thing — with the scenes also going viral on social media.
According to the petition, the soldier is being detained under “unhealthy conditions with no food and access to sanitary and medical facilities.”
It also said the soldier “knew the corps member before they met in camp”, adding that the couple only “decided to strengthen their relationship.”
It called on Farouk Yahaya, the chief of army staff (COAS), to ensure Akinlabi is not stigmatised or dismissed from the military, adding that “love should not be punished.”
The petition also asked Francisca Olaleye, Kwara NYSC coordinator, to ensure “no harm or hurt happens to the couple.”
“We are asking the Nigeria chief of army staff, major-general Farouk Yahaya to respect her constitutional rights and ensure that she’s not stigmatized or dismissed from the military,” it read.
“We further call on the Nigerian military and security forces to review and remove all discriminatory rules against service women in it books with immediate effect!”
The petition, which targets 1,500 signatures, has been signed by 1,200 people as of the time of this report.
Funmi Falana, human rights lawyer, had earlier criticised the army over Akinlabi’s detention. She also called on authorities to release her.
Copyright 2023 TheCable. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from TheCable.
Follow us on twitter @Thecablestyle