The family of a NYSC man named Remi, who proposed to a female soldier, Private Sofiyat Akinlabi, at the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp in Yikpata, Kwara State, has urged military authorities not to dismiss the romantic soldier.
“We implore the Nigerian Army to tamper with justice and release her.” She is a woman, and she is capable of feeling emotions. “We don’t want her to be fired; we want her to keep her military job,” a family source told our correspondent.
According to a family member, Remi and Akinlabi’s friendship began more than three years ago in Abeokuta, Ogun State, before the latter joined the military.
On December 14, 2021, the Nigerian Army detained Akinlabi after viral video clips showed her accepting Remi’s marriage proposal at a camp in Yikpata, Kwara State.
The lovebirds had shared a hug and kiss at the Mammy market, much to the delight of the other corpers.
Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, told our correspondent that Akinlabi’s actions amounted to taking advantage of her trainee, and that she would be punished in accordance with existing military laws.
The corps member’s close family member, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the nature of the matter, told Saturday PUNCH that they had lost contact but were surprisingly reunited by fate at the NYSC camp late November.
“They knew each other before they came to camp,” he explained. Before she joined the army, they met in Abeokuta over three years ago.
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, activists Deji Adeyanju of concerned Nigerians and Omoyele Sowore of Revolution Now have accumulated over 10,000 signatures on their Change.org petitions.
On Facebook, the petitioners posted photos of male soldiers proposing to their love interests while in uniform and demanded Akinlabi’s release.