Funmi Falana, wife of human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has written to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, seeking the release of female soldier who was detained for accepting marriage proposal from a youth corper.
Falana is contending that not only should Private Sofiyat Akinlabi be released but her decision to marry the male youth corper be respected in accordance with the freedom of association guaranteed by Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution, 199
The Nigerian Army spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, had explained that her action violated extant military guidelines and directives.
He had said she got involved in a public display of “amorous” relationship with the trainee corps member.
But in a letter dated December 20, 2021, Mrs Falana, who is the chairperson of Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA), said the rule which bars women soldiers from contracting marriage in less than three years after enlistment, does not apply to the male personnel.
She cited the case of Women Empowerment and Legal Aid and the Attorney General of the Federation 2015 1 NHRLR (PT 1) 57 in which the Federal High Court nullified Regulation 124 of the Nigerian Police.
“In view of the fact that male soldiers have not been penalised for involving themselves in a public amorous relationship in full military uniform, the threat to sanction Private Sofiyat Akinlabi is discriminatory,” she wrote.
“Some of the photographs of male soldiers involved in public display of amorous relationship are attached.”


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