Female Soldier Arrested for Accepting Marriage Proposal While on Duty

What should have been one of the happiest experiences of her life turned into a nightmare for a Nigerian soldier, after being arrested for accepting a marriage proposal while on duty.

The female soldier’s trouble began when a video of her accepting the marriage proposal of a kneeling young man went viral on social media. Footage shows other members of the Nigerian military witnessing the proposal and then cheering and congratulating the two lovers. However, for the Nigerian Army, things weren’t quite so simple. This wasn’t a simple romantic gesture that had gone viral online, but video proof of a female soldier accepting to marry a trainee in the government’s youth training scheme, which is apparently a big no-no.

Photo: Andre Jackson/Unsplash

“Her conduct was prejudicial to good order and military discipline,” Gen Clement Nwachukwu told the BBC. “The trainers’ task was to train the youth corps members and not to indulge in amorous relationships with any of them.”

Indulging in romance while in uniform isn’t something that the Nigerian Army condones, so the offending woman, identified as Sofiyat Akinlabi, was reportedly placed under arrest, an action that sparked angry reactions from human rights groups and activists. Many described the decision as “misogynistic”, claiming that men can engage in similar behavior without suffering any consequences.


The arrested soldier has received a lot of support online, both from the general public and from a number of celebrities, but it remains to be seen if the Army decides to give in to requests for her release. Thousands of Nigerians signed an online petition for Akinlabi’s release, but she remains behind bars after a week of detention.

The petition urges Chief of Army Staff, Farouk Yahaya, “to use your good offices to order the release of Private Sofiyat Akinlabie from further custody. Furthermore, her decision to marry the male youth corps member should be respected as both of them are entitled to freedom of association guaranteed by Section 40 of the Constitution.”

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