HURIWA Advocates Rights-Based Policy for Female Members in Nigerian Army

HURIWA Advocates Rights-Based Policy for Female Members in Nigerian Army
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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has issued a strong call for a comprehensive review of the Nigerian Army’s policies regarding women in the military. The organization highlighted concerns over widespread discrimination, harassment, and assault experienced by female soldiers, emphasizing the urgent need for Nigeria to align its military practices with global standards of gender equality and universal human rights laws.

In a statement released Sunday, HURIWA underlined distressing cases involving Ruth Ogunleye, Lance Corporal Philomena Nnamoko, and Beauty Uzezi, who allegedly suffered severe violations of their rights within the Nigerian military.

The group expressed regret over the plight of female military personnel who often endure suffering in silence due to fear of repercussions for speaking out. HURIWA criticized the internal mechanisms for resolving human rights cases within the military, stressing the inadequacy of the current setup, which relies on a single unit rather than a dedicated department within the Army.

HURIWA Advocates Rights-Based Policy for Female Members in Nigerian Army
    General Christopher Musa NA; Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff

    HURIWA urged the Nigerian military leadership to emulate the Chief of Defence Staff, who appointed a Human Rights Adviser, by appointing Special Advisers with backgrounds in human rights to the service chiefs in the Army, Navy, and Airforce. Alternatively, the organization suggested the establishment of a centralized Human Rights Advisor office to handle cases from all segments of the armed forces.

    “Ruth Ogunleye bravely spoke out against senior officers who allegedly harassed and threatened her after she rejected sexual advances, while Uzezi was brutally raped by her superior and subsequently dismissed from service without receiving justice.

    “Beauty Uzezi’s harrowing account of sexual assault and subsequent dismissal from the Nigerian Air Force, coupled with the recent allegations of harassment and abuse by Ruth Ogunleye and Lance Corporal Philomena Nnamoko, underscore the pervasive culture of impunity within the Nigerian military.

    HURIWA Advocates Rights-Based Policy for Female Members in Nigerian Army
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      “Ogunleye, in a viral video, revealed the torment she faced from senior army officers after refusing their sexual advances. She identified them as Col. I.B. Abdulkareem, Col. G.S. Ogor, and Brig. Gen. I.B. Solebo. She described being locked up, ejected from her apartment, and falsely placed in a psychiatric hospital. Ruth alleged multiple attempted rapes by Col. Abdulkareem, who later claimed she had a mental illness.

      “Lance Corporal Philomena Nnamoko, a soldier attached to Ilese Sappers Barracks, Division 2, Ogun State, alleged that her senior colleagues had been bullying and harassing her due to her refusal to acquiesce to their sexual advances. She was reportedly beaten and sent to the Yaba Psychiatric Hospital.”

      “These cases reveal a disturbing pattern of senior officers exploiting their positions of power to prey upon and victimize female soldiers, while the authorities turn a blind eye or actively cover up these heinous acts.

      “As Nigerians anxiously await the outcome of the promised investigation by the Nigerian Army, it is evident that urgent reforms are needed to hold perpetrators accountable, protect the rights of female soldiers, and ensure justice for all victims of abuse within the military ranks,” HURIWA stated.

      HURIWA Advocates Rights-Based Policy for Female Members in Nigerian Army
        Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA’s National Coordinator

        HURIWA called for urgent reforms to hold perpetrators accountable, protect the rights of female soldiers, and ensure justice for all victims of abuse. The organization emphasized the need for Nigeria to modernize its military practices and eliminate discriminatory treatment against female soldiers, drawing attention to the contrast with advanced societies such as the United States.

        Additionally, HURIWA urged the National Assembly to enact legislation criminalizing discriminatory practices against female soldiers and ensuring their full protection and inclusion within the military. The organization pledged to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to advocate for meaningful reforms promoting gender equality and respect for human rights within the Nigerian military.

        Read Also: HURIWA’s Chief Sounds Alarm Over Threats to His Life, Others

        In conclusion, HURIWA emphasized the importance of education and awareness initiatives to challenge entrenched gender norms and foster a culture of respect and equality within the armed forces. By empowering women to speak out against abuse and discrimination, HURIWA seeks to effect lasting change and ensure the dignity and respect of all members of the Nigerian military.

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