The Concerned Nigerian Women, a group, has given President Muhammadu Buhari a 14-day ultimatum to sack the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Farouk Yahaya, and National Youth Service Corps Director-General, Brigadier Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, over the harassment and detention of a female soldier, who accepted a marriage proposal from a male corps member.
SaharaReporters had reported that the female soldier, Private Hannah Sofiat Akinlabi, was ordered to be detain by Captain MM Abdulahi, Kwara State NYSC Camp Commandant, at a military detention facility in Ilorin, the capital, pending further investigations into the matter.
A military source had said she was detained for not being “due for marriage, romancing on uniform publicly, absent on parade, indiscriminate behaviour, doing other things aside from her purpose in NYSC camp, disobedience to standing order of social media rule and disobedience to ethics and tradition of the Nigerian Army”.
Reacting in a statement, the women rights group led by Bimbola Olatenwaju berated the NYSC DG for what it termed “an apparent show of disdain for women”.
The group further called the attention of Nigerians to the fact that the provision that said a female soldier must serve for three years before marriage, the basis upon which Akinlabi was being detained, has not been breached as the soldier merely accepted a proposal for marriage, which can take up to 10 years before being formally contracted.
It also wondered if same provision applied to male officers, adding that the group will go to any length to ensure that Private Akinlabi was not discriminated against because of her gender.
The women group said the military code by virtue of Section 1(3) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended remains null and void for clashing with a provision in the Nigerian supreme law.
The group vowed to immediately press for the unconditional release of the detained female soldier.
The group said, “Following the apparent breach of the female officer's fundamental rights, we will lead a protest to the Presidential Villa, United States Embassy, British High Commission, Ministry of Women Affairs, Human Right Commission office and other key institutions if the Chief of Army Staff and NYSC DG are not removed for their hatred towards women within the next seven days.
“We also call on the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife of the Vice President, wife of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria and other influential women to join in the protest against the Chief of Army Staff and the NYSC DG to occupy Aso Rock Villa on December 30, 2021.”