The Nigerian Army is set to try a female soldier, Private Sofiyat Akinlabi, who accepted the marriage proposal of an unnamed corper.
Our correspondent learnt that the military authorities are currently conducting a preliminary investigation that precedes a trial.
An impeccable source in the military who is familiar with the matter told our correspondent on Thursday that Akinlabi will be tried for unprofessional conduct including violation of military laws regarding social media and fraternisation with a trainee – a corper.
We earlier reported that the Army detained Akinlabi on December 14, 2021, when viral video clips showed her accepting the marriage proposal of a corper at the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp in Yikpata, Kwara State.
The lovebirds had shared a hug and kiss to the delight of other corpers at the Mammy market.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, told our correspondent on December 19, 2021 that Akinlabi violated military laws by getting involved in a public display of amorous relationship with a paramilitary trainee – a corps member, vowing that she will be punished.
Also, the NYSC Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Shuaibu, at a briefing in Abuja on December 21, 2021, said though the scheme “encourage(s) them to inter-marry, we have never had a situation where a corps member will go and propose (to a soldier)”. He also said that the military won’t joke with its traditions.
Asked whether the soldier has been released, the top military source, who craved anonymity because he was not allowed to speak on the matter, told us on Thursday that Akinlabi will be tried in line with extant military laws.
The military source said, “She is going to go through summary trial because the offences she committed is not a grievous offence that will attract court-martial.
“During her trial, if she is able to prove that she was not the one who did that (posted on social media), they might overlook it but if she had not violated the military laws by fraternising with the corper, that wouldn’t have happened.
“During the trial, before the commanding officer who is the judge, if she is able to prove herself as not guilty, the judge will pronounce her innocent.”
He also said the disciplinary action that would be taken against Akinlabi would depend on whether she was a first-time offender or not.
“A lot of things will come into play when she is being tried. The commanding officer will consider whether she has been a person of good character before now or otherwise,” the source said, adding that the camp commandment at the NYSC camp will also be interrogated for allowing the fraternisation to take place under his nose.
Meanwhile, over 10,000 persons have signed two petitions domiciled on the Change.org platform, demanding the release of Akinlabi while human rights activists including Funmi Falana, Omoyele Sowore, Deji Adeyanju continue to pressure the Army to release the detainee.