Proposal: 10,000 sign petition demanding female soldier’s release

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No fewer than 10,000 persons have signed two petitions calling on the Nigerian Army to release Private Sofiyat Akinlabi, the soldier currently undergoing punishment after accepting a marriage proposal from a corps member at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Yikpata, Kwara State.

Army authorities arrested and detained the soldier on December 14 after two videos of the proposal went viral.

In one of the videos, the soldier – who is decked in full military camouflage – can be seen kissing the corps member and gleefully brandishing her engagement ring as other corps members around cheered.

Nigerians have expressed divergent opinions on the soldier’s arrest and detention.

Meanwhile, the two petitions domiciled on were started by human rights activists, Deji Adeyanju and Omoyele Sowore.

The petition started by Adeyanju, who is the Convener of Concerned Nigerians, has already got more than 5,000 signatures.

The petition titled, ‘FreeSofiat: Nigerian Army should release detained female Nigerian soldier immediately,’ read in part: “We’re demanding the immediate release of the young female soldier being held by the Nigerian Army before it sparks national global outrage.

“Furthermore, we condemn the prolonged detention and alleged violation of her human rights by army authorities by denying Sofiyat access to members of her family and refusing to provide her with food, sanitary materials, and medical care. Such gross violation of human right, abuse of power and excessive use of force is absolutely uncalled for and condemnable.”

The petition signed by Sowore, who is the Publisher of SaharaReporters, is titled, ‘#FreeSofiyat: Release female soldier held over marriage proposal in Nigeria’.

It read, “It is Christmas time and Sofiat should be with her family and loved ones during the holidays and not held up.

“We are asking the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Farouk Yahaya, to respect her constitutional rights and ensure that she is not stigmatised or dismissed from the military. We further call on the Nigerian military and security forces to review and remove all discriminatory rules against servicewomen in its books with immediate effect!”


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