Nigerian Army Fails To Arrest Senior Officers Accused Of Sexual Harassment, Claims Detained Victim And Female Soldier, Ruth Ogunleye, Is Undergoing Rehab

Nigerian women affairs minister, Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, has announced that she paid a visit to Ruth Ogunleye, a female soldier who recently complained in the viral video about sexual harassment in the military.

The minister said she was at the facility where Ruth was undergoing rehabilitation earlier this week.

In a post on her X (formerly Twitter) handle on Thursday, Ohanenye said, “Aside from the noticeable improvement from my last visit to her, she was in high spirits and we interacted cordially.”

She added that her ministry had deployed a “desk officer to monitor her recovery in keeping with our mandate to promote the welfare and well-being of Nigerian women”.

Meanwhile, sources 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.

Earlier this month, SaharaReporters reported that Ruth 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 had told SaharaReporters.

Ruth had 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.

According to her, her bank account had been frozen since February 2023 and she had not been paid salary for no reason.

She further alleged that Col. Abdulkareem attempted to rape her on multiple occasions. The female soldier said the army officer later claimed that she had a mental illness, adding that she had made several efforts including writing a petition and getting some senior and junior officers to intervene but that all was to no avail.

She also said that Col. Abdulkareem had denied her access to every army course and passes to see her parents. According to her, her father contacted Col. Abdulkareem over her issues, but he (Abdulkareem) reportedly told her father to inform her to obey the last order. 

She said, “I know definitely they will come for me. They will lock me up and they will dismiss me but I don’t care. I can’t endure again. Before coming out to make this video, I can’t endure again. I don’t want to die young.

“If anything should happen to me, please hold Col. I.B. Abdulkareem, Col. G.S. Ogor and Brig. Gen. I.B. Solebo responsible, because they don’t want me to grow. They don’t want my progress.

“In 2022, I was posted to Cantonment Medical Center, Ojor where I met Col. I.B. Abdulkareem, who requested for me and I refused. Ever since then, this man has been my nightmare in the army – threatening to dismiss me each time he sees me.

“He ejected me from my room, sent some boys to my house. I have all the evidence and I have witness. He came to my house to eject me.

“Each time I try to expose him or each time any senior officer tries to intervene, he also stigmatizes me, that I have mental illness. He would always tell them that I have mental illness.

“He wrote to DOA three times to board me out of the army. He froze my account for one year. He froze my account since February last year (2023) till date, no salary.

“I have cried to some senior officers. I wrote a petition using Section 179 of the Armed Forces Act. I have seen so many officers, senior officers, junior officers to intervene but none of them is giving me a listening ear. Any time anyone tries to intervene, he will tell them that I have mental illness.

“There was a day he locked me, he almost raped me and when they caught him, he said I have mental illness and he took me to a psychiatric hospital and locked me up there for one month without any medication.

“He has denied me access to military courses, meanwhile, they know very well that my progression in the army is determined by my course attendance. Now course, I have been given admission in a medical school but he refused to release me.

“There was a day I called my dad and my dad intervened but he told my dad to tell me to obey the last order. What is the last order? For him to sleep with me?

“He has denied me everything. I can’t even go on passes to see my parents. No pass, no leave for me. But please and please, if anything should happen to me, hold them responsible, especially Col. IB Abdulkareem, Col. GS Ogor and Brig. Gen. IB Solebo. They are my nightmare in the Army.

“They have done everything to tarnish my image because they are all course mates. I don’t know what I have done to them. Till today I haven’t collected salary. I can’t endure this again. Let the worst happen.”

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.

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