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Soldier’s detention over marriage proposal illegal’

Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr Monday Ubani, has urged the Army to release one Private Hannah Sofiat from what he called illegal detention.

The female soldier was reportedly detained by the Army for accepting a marriage proposal from a male member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Yikpata, Kwara State.

The female soldier’s detention followed the release of video footage in which was being proposed to by the Corps member.

NBA-SPIDEL also demanded an apology from the Army for the undue embarrassment caused her and her suitor.

One Captain M.M. Abdulahi, Kwara State NYSC camp commandant, was alleged to have ordered Sofiat’s detention pending investigations.

The military said Sofiat violated its rules and regulations, but Ubani countered, saying, “Peoples’ lives should not be destroyed under the guise of enforcing discipline”.

Sofiat was accused, among others, of having an amorous relationship with a trainee; of not being eligible for marriage until she had served three years, and of having a romantic affair while in army uniform.

Ubani said those in the “leadership of these institutions” need be reminded “that we are not under any military dictatorship but under civilian democracy.

“The provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, particularly Chapter 4, guarantees right to personal liberty, right to a fair hearing, right to dignity, right to movement, etc. These rights are in existence and have not been abrogated. No one today can be punished for any crime in Nigeria that is not properly defined by our Criminal or Penal Code.”

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