A lawyer to a female soldier recently dismissed by the authorities of the Nigerian Army, for getting pregnant after she was raped by suspected bandits who attacked their vehicle while she was on transit from Lagos to Oyo state, Barrister Johnson Oyewole, has appealed to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to upturn the decision.
An Army board of inquiry (BOI) investigated the soldier and recommended her trial where the female soldier was found culpable of the ‘Offence of ‘Conduct Prejudicial to Service Discipline’ and the signals soldier was dismissed from service.
Describing the dismissal of the soldier as unlawful after the ordeal she went through in the hands of criminal elements, Barrister Oyewole said.
She, Johnson Oyewole, expressed the conviction that his client would be recalled to continue serving her fatherland after the dismissal is rescinded.
The Chief of Army Staff is the final authority that upturns such decision in the case of a soldier being punished for an offence by an Army board except that of an officer which may go to the Army Council.
The appeal to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Buratai reveals that victim enlisted in the Army in March 2012 as a member of 67 Regular Recruits intake, and was serving with 56 Signal Command, Mile 2, Lagos, before the incident.
Challenging the soldier’s dismissal, Barrister Oyewole said, ”It is manifest that the purported trial of our client was tainted with substantial irregularities; there is no offence under the law and no element of the offence of misconduct prejudicial to service discipline that talks of pregnancy while in service and warranted dismissal under section 103 (1).”
The lawyer said his client lawfully applied for and obtained a pass to travel to Oyo State, sometime in October when the vehicle she boarded ran into bandits along Odo-Oba road and she was allegedly raped by five men.
The female soldier was thereafter taken to Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, where she was treated for six days.
He said that as a result of the sexual assault, the raped female soldier obtained an extract from the Police Crime Diary, a Sworn Affidavit, as well as a Medical Report, which clearly indicated that she sustained “injury of right ankle joint with laceration and bruises around the thigh region.”
On falling sick and feeling some unease over her health in December 2019, the female soldier reported sick at the Military hospital and after checks, she was confirmed to be 12 weeks pregnant.
It was gathered that one of the major planks for the decision to dismiss the female soldier was the time difference between the time the incident of armed bandits attack occurred and the time she went to the military hospital and was confirmed pregnant.