Over 10,000 persons have signed two petitions domiciled on the Change.org platform, demanding the release of a female soldier, Private Sofiyat Akinlabi, who was detained by military authorities for accepting the marriage proposal of an unnamed corper at the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp in Yikpata, Kwara State.
The first petition started by activist Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians has attracted over 5,000 signatures as of press time. It was titled, ‘FreeSofiat: Nigerian Army should release detained female Nigerian soldier immediately’.
It 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.”
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The second petition started by activist Omoyele Sowore has also attracted over 5,000 signatures. It was titled, ‘#FreeSofiyat: Release female soldier held over marriage proposal in Nigeria’.
It partly 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!”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Nigerian Army on December 14, 2021, arrested and detained Akinlabi for accepting the corper’s marriage proposal at the Mammy Market at the Yikpata NYSC camp.
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.
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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.
Some civil society organisations including the Women Empowerment & Legal Aid had since called on the COAS to respect the decision of the female soldier to marry the male corps member.
The Chairperson of the group, Funmi Falana, in a letter to the COAS on December 20, 2021, demanded the immediate release of the soldier
She argued that no male soldier has been punished for proposing to a love interest in public as seen on social media. She, therefore, declared as illegal, the detention of Akinlabi.
Lagos traditional ruler jailed 15 years
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a traditional ruler to a 15-year jail term for faking his kidnap.
Mutiu Ogundare, who a deposed Baale of Shangisha in the Magodo area of Lagos, was found guilty of the offence by the court.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi sentenced Ogundare having convicted him of the two counts, bordering on breach of peace and fake kidnapping.
Midnight gunshots, burglars terrify Lagos community
Residents of Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area of Lagos State have lamented incessant gunshots every midnight in the area.
The residents, who spoke to our correspondent, also decried the activities of burglars and miscreants who terrorised people in the community.
A resident, who identified himself simply as Biggie for security reasons, said he realised he was not the only one aware of the situation when he got a call from a neighbour while another shooting was going on.
He said, “A neighbour called my phone one midnight to alert me when he heard the gunshots. I told him that wasn’t the first time such was happening. It has been the case since a man in the neighbourhood was shot dead inside his house while wrestling with armed robbers.”
Another resident, Kola Ajayi, said the neighbourhood also had the same challenge in 2019.
Zamfara Killing: MURIC hails media for fair reporting
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has hailed the Nigerian media for properly reporting the killing of Muslims in Zamfara last Friday, September 23, 2022.
MURIC commendation is contained in a press statement signed Sunday by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.
However, theIslamic human rights organization slammed the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for falsely claiming that it was only Christians that are being killed in Nigeria.
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The statement reads in part: “Terrorists invaded the Friday prayer mosque in Ruwan Jema town in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State Friday, 23rd September, 2022 killing fifteen (15) and injuring forty eight (48) Muslim worshippers. The armed men hid their guns inside their clothes and pretended to be worshippers. They opened fire on innocent worshippers after entering the mosque.
“MURIC is particularly impressed by the manner in which the killing was reported. Unlike in the past when the killing of Muslims attract little or no media attention and mere casualty figures are given while the religion of the victims are deliberately left out, this time around, the Nigerian press really went to town with stories of the Zamfara killings and most media houses identified the victims as Muslims. This is quite laudable.
“The Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) of MURIC reported the use of the following captions in different media houses to describe the Zamfara killings (https://saharareporters.com/2022/09/24/breaking-scores-worshippers-killed-terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaat; https://dailypost.ng/2022/09/24/bandits-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-in-zamfara/; https://www.thecable.ng/15-worshippers-killed-as-bandits-attack-mosque-in-zamfara; https://muslimnews.com.ng/2022/09/25/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaat-prayer-kill-15-worshippers-turkiye-envoy-mourns/; https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/09/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-2/; https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-shoot-15-worshippers-dead-in-zamfara-mosque/; https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2022/09/25/terrorists-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-injure-others-in-zamfara/; https://punchng.com/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-gun-down-worshippers/; https://tribuneonlineng.com/gunmen-kill-15-worshippers-in-mosque-in-zamfara/; https://www.channelstv.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-at-least-11/; https://thenationonlineng.net/bandits-invade-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers/)
“Even some foreign media like Voice of America (VOA) and Reuters were not left out of the fair reportage (https://www.voanews.com/a/armed-bandits-kill-15-at-mosque-in-northwest-nigeria-residents-say-/6761811.html; https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/armed-bandits-kill-15-mosque-northwest-nigeria-residents-2022-09-24/; https://newscentral.africa/fifteen-killed-forty-eight-injured-as-bandits-ransack-zamfara-mosque/) We salute them all.
“However, a few media houses need to be awake to the sensitivity of the revelation of identities when reporting incidents like this. It may not have been deliberate, but newsmen need to be conscious of the need not only to be fair but also to be seen to have been fair. At least one or two media houses left out the identity of the faith of the victims of the Zamfara killing (https://www.tvcnews.tv/2018/06/police-confirm-fresh-attack-in-zamfara-village-15-killed/; https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/265729-police-confirm-15-killed-in-zamfara-attack.html).
“Both the press and non-governmental organisations should be partners in progress. We cherish the emerging culture of equity, fairness and professionalism in reportage. Both Christians and Muslims deserve fair representation in media reports. This will promote peaceful coexistence among the different faiths.
“The manner of reporting the Zamfara killings thus revealed the fact that it was Muslims that were killed and injured last Friday. We therefore wonder how the Christian Association of Nigeria arrived at its conclusion that only Christians were being killed in Nigeria and it tried to sell such a dangerous idea to the West, knowing it to be false.
“MURIC is constrained to ask CAN if the 15 worshippers killed and the 48 injured in Zamfara mosque last Friday were also Christians? What of the 200 worshippers killed and the 165 injured in Boko Haram’s bomb attack in Kano Central Mosque on 28th November 2014 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30250950)? Were they also Christians? Do Christians attend Jumu’ah prayers in mosques?
“The intention and likely outcome of such vicious lies are not lost on us. America and its Western allies like Britain, France and Germany are likely to impose travel sanctions on Muslim leaders in government, label some Islamic organisations in Nigeria as terrorist groups, place some Islamic scholars on terror watch and begin a process of secret supply of weapons to Christian leaders and Nigerian churches.
“But the greatest benefit would have been a geometric increase in the pouring of monetary support in billions of dollars, euro and British pounds to Christian leaders and groups.
“MURIC condemns the killing of innocent Muslims who had only gone to the mosque for their Jumu’ah prayer last Friday. For the umpteenth time, we reiterate our stand that terrorists and bandits are not part of us. They belong to the evil circle of criminals. They are not part of the Muslim community.
“They are rebellious subjects and enemies of peace. Nobody, therefore, should associate them or their actions with the peace-loving and law-abiding Muslims of Nigeria. In the same vein, it will be naïve for any individual or group within or outside the country to link the actions of terrorists and bandits with the Nigerian government.
“We commiserate with Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara, on the senseless killing of innocent citizens of his state. We pray that Allah will forgive the dead and grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the loss and the economic empowerment to take care of dependants left behind by their bread winners. Above all, we pray for peace in Zamfara, the entire North and the rest of Nigeria.”
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