Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu left; a corps member holding a ring as he knelt to ask the female soldier to marry him.
The family of a youth corper simply identified as Remi, who proposed to a female soldier, Private Sofiyat Akinlabi, at the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp in Yikpata, Kwara State, has appealed to military authorities not to dismiss the romantic soldier.
“We appeal to the Nigerian Army to tamper justice with mercy and release her. She is a woman and she has emotions. We don’t want her to be dismissed; we want her to continue her job in the military,” a family source told our correspondent.
According to the family member, Remi and Akinlabi’s friendship started in Abeokuta, Ogun State over three years ago before the latter joined the military.
The Nigerian Army had detained Akinlabi on December 14, 2021, when viral video clips showed her accepting the marriage proposal of Remi at the camp in Yikpata, Kwara State.
The lovebirds had shared a hug and kiss to the delight of other corpers at the Mammy market.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, told our correspondent that Akinlabi’s action amounted to taking advantage of her trainee, noting that she would be punished in line with extant military laws.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of the matter, the close family member of the corps member told Saturday PUNCH that they had lost each other’s contact, but was surprisingly brought together by fate at the NYSC camp late November.
He said, “They have known each other before they got to camp. They met in Abeokuta over three years ago before she joined the Army but lost contact some time ago. Meeting at NYSC camp was like a reunion.
“They have been friends all along and Remi thought it wise to seize the opportunity of their meeting again to propose to her. He had to walk up to her as a man and not worry about her new status as a soldier because she would eventually get married.
Meanwhile, two petitions on Change.org platform by activists Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians and Omoyele Sowore of Revolution Now have attracted over 10,000 signatures.
The petitioners shared photos of male soldiers proposing to their love interests in uniform on Facebook and called for the release of Akinlabi.