EXCLUSIVE: Chief Of Army Staff, Lagbaja Orders Commanders To Stop ‘Further Comments’ On Female Soldier Who Was Allegedly Harassed By Senior Officers

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has ordered commanders and personnel to desist from further commenting on the issue of a detained Corporal, Ruth Ogunleye who accused some senior army officers of sexual harassment.

SaharaReporters had reported that Ogunleye, a female soldier of the Nigerian Army, had in a viral video accused two colonels and a Brigadier-General of sexual harassment, intimidation and threat to life.

On January 16, SaharaReporters reported that the female soldier had been arrested and flown to Abuja from Lagos.

“The lady who complained in the viral video about sexual harassment in the military has been arrested and moved to Abuja by air this morning. She was flown out accompanied by military police in mufti from Lagos to Abuja,” a top military source told SaharaReporters.

The soldier serving in Lagos State, who did not disclose her name but later identified as Ruth, raised the alarm in the viral video that some senior army officers were threatening her life for rejecting their sexual advances.

She lamented how the senior army officers – whom she identified as Col. I.B. Abdulkareem, Col. G.S. Ogor and Brig. Gen. I.B. Solebo – had been oppressing her since she was posted to Cantonment Medical Centre, Ojo, Lagos in 2022, for refusing their sexual advances.

She said she had been locked up several times for no reason, ejected from her apartment, and put in a psychiatric hospital for a month without any medication based on a false claim that she had a mental illness.

After the video went viral, the army said it had begun an investigation into the alleged maltreatment.

The army in a release by Major-General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, said the female soldier did not inform relevant bodies and institutions about her predicament before releasing the video.

In a military signal obtained by SaharaReporters, the army chief asked commanders at all levels to caution personnel under their command to desist from making official comments on the allegations raised by the soldier.

The internal memo dated January 29, 2024, was signed by Brigadier General PO Alimikhena on behalf of Lieutenant General Lagbaja.

“The named soldier of HQ NAMC publicly raised allegations of maltreatment and acts suggesting sexual harassment against 3 senior officers through her TikTok social media account. Accordingly, the COAS vide Reference A directed HQ NACMP to conduct detailed investigation on the allegations raisedby the soldier,” it read.

“To this end, I am directed to respectfully convey the COAS directive that no further official comments on subject should be made pending outcome of HQ NACMP investigation.

Commanders at all levels are to please caution personnel under command to desist from making official comments on the allegations raised by the soldier.”

Meanwhile, sources recently told SaharaReporters that the military authorities “arrested and detained Ruth, claiming she is undergoing rehab, but did not arrest the officers she accused of sexual harassment.”

They arrested the female soldier (Ruth) and claimed she was undergoing rehabilitation but left the senior male officers she pointedly accused of sexually harassing her alone,” one of the military sources told SaharaReporters.

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