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Punishing female soldier for expressing love ‘discriminatory’- Rights activist, Agbese tells Army

A United Kingdom-trained human rights activist, Comrade Philip Agbese, has joined other activists to condemn the Nigerian Army for detaining...


A United Kingdom-trained human rights activist, Comrade Philip Agbese, has joined other activists to condemn the Nigerian Army for detaining and punishing a young female soldier for accepting a marriage proposal while in uniform.


In a statement on Tuesday, Agbese said the action of the Nigerian Army under the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Farouk Yahaya, was discriminatory, showing clearly that he has no capacity to lead the troops in the 21st century.


Recall that the Army recently detained a female soldier for accepting the marriage proposal of a male corps member at the National Youth Service Corps orientation camp in Yikpata, Kwara State.


The Army said the soldier violated its rules and regulations guiding the codes of conduct of military personnel when deployed for duty.


But condemning the move, Agbese said there are comparators to show that the action was discriminatory as many male soldiers had done so in the past without being punished.


The rights activist said whilst he doesn’t subscribe to attempts by subversive elements to distract troops fighting insurgency and banditry in the northeast and northwest respectively, he feels that the action of the Nigerian Army high command was prejudiced and illegal, noting that such should have no place in a decent society.


According to him, rules must apply to everyone irrespective of gender, adding that what the Army is currently doing is totally unacceptable.


Quoting Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he said, “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”.


He added that “All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and any incitement to such discrimination”.


Agbese further said the Army acted ultra vires in this regard and such actions are capable of eroding the confidence of the people in an Army that had acquired some mileage on human rights compliance in the recent past.


In recent times, he said the Army was seen encouraging females to join its fold and went ahead to create an entire corps for women but this action will discourage them from further enlisting.


Agbese, however, appealed to the Chief of Army Staff to without more delay release the soldier from detention and ensure that she is given a fair hearing and allowed to be represented by a lawyer.

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