From Molly Kilete, Abuja
In the spirit of Christmas, the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, has ordered the release of Private Hannah Sofiat Akinlabi, the female soldier who was detained after a video clip of her being proposed to by a male Corps Member at the National Youth Service Corps orientation camp in Yikpata, Kwara State, went viral on social media.
Gen Yahaya, who is currently in the North East to celebrate Christmas with counterinsurgency officers and soldiers, wants the female soldier to enjoy Christmas with her family, friends and colleagues.
PRNigeria reports that the army chief in the last few days made overtures to the leadership of the Nigerian Armed Forces, requesting that the soldier be pardoned even as he maintained that the erring soldier should be strongly reprimanded against engaging in any kind of act that contravenes the military code of conduct for its officers and men, the sources said.
The military authority has considered the appeal of the army chief and ordered the release of the soldier to enjoy Christmas with family and friends.
A video of a male Corps Member proposing to a female soldier at the Yikpata Orientation Camp in Kwara State recently surfaced online and went viral.
In one of the video clips, some Corps Members were seen having a discussion at a venue believed to be the parade ground of the orientation camp.
The discussion was still on when the yet-to-be-identified Corps Member, who is seen holding a ring, went down on one knee and popped the question to the soldier, with the lady accepting the proposal.
The Corps Member went on to insert the ring in the finger of the visibly excited soldier amid cheers from others at the scene.
In another clip, the pair are seen sharing lovey-dovey moments. The Corps Member is seen wearing the lady’s military cap as she stands directly behind him.
They thereafter shared a kiss to the delight of other Corps Members filming the incident.
There were reports that after the incident, the soldier was detained by the army, an action that received wide condemnation on social media.
A senior officer, who does not want to be mentioned in print, said: ‘The COAS, in his wisdom, believes that the young female soldier will retrace her steps and show remorse for engaging in acts that negate military ethical codes, by the time she is pardoned and forgiven. Hence, he has been appealing for her to be pardoned. This is what he has been doing behind the scene, in the last few days.’
When contacted, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, assured that the soldier would be released on Christmas Day.
Nwachukwu said: I can confirm to you that an order has been made for the soldier to be freed and enjoy the Christmas with her family and friends with a serious warning for her not to repeat such act again.’