The Nigerian Army has been dragged on the social media after a yet-to-be-identified soldier harassed a woman for putting on an ‘indecent dress’ at Oju-Ore, Sango-Ota area of Ogun State.
A viral video on Saturday showed the soldier pulling the lady’s braided hair, yanking out her blouse and making attempts to take off her bra.
It was learnt that the lady, who was clad in shorts and white knitted cover-up, was walking along the road when the soldier hurriedly came down from a commercial bus and accosted her.
He reportedly slapped the lady repeatedly and when she attempted to run away from the unprovoked assault, he pulled her braided long hair.
Some passersby were said to have begged him before he let go of the lady and re-boarded the bus.
The incident happened barely one month after some soldiers were caught on camera flogging a woman in Beere, Ibadan, Oyo State, for what they termed ‘indecent dressing.’
The latest assault attracted criticisms from many Nigerians who have called on the Army authorities to rein in gross abuse of human rights by soldiers.
A Twitter user, Korrect, tagged the Nigerian Army Headquarters, the President, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), among others, describing the act as heartless.
Korrect wrote, “@HQNigerianArmy must immediately locate this soldier and prosecute him now!!! This is heartless to watch! @MBuhari, @GarShehu, @BashirAhmaad, @FemAdesina, @GeoffreyOnyeama is this the leadership we Nigerians voted for?”
Another Twitter user that goes by the name, ASAP COCKY, accused the army of encouraging such behaviour by not bringing the erring soldiers to justice.
“Most of the time when @HQNigerianArmy say they located an erring officer, I believe it ends with “Army Arrangement” since they are the face of human rights violation on the continent,” COCKY tweeted.
D-Rebellion Freedom-Fighter said the soldier’s conduct betrayed logic, adding that it was time Nigerians called out the military to put an end to “this insane act of human rights abuse.”
Jennifer Philip, whose Twitter handle is @The_Obiageli, also condemned the assault, saying, “This thing is so heartbreaking. When will Nigerian soldiers stop bullying people? It’s either they call you and force you to give them your (phone) number or they pick out faults from you and start harassing you. We have stopped wearing camo (camouflage) but you will still not leave us alone.”
On Instagram, Realxnite said it was “pure abuse of power” for the soldier to beat up the lady and strip her of her clothes for wearing something too revealing.”
“Where is the logic?” Realxnite asked.
On Facebook, Innocent Uwa, questioned the soldier for breaking the law.
He wrote, “You stripped a lady for indecent dressing. Are you a law court? Who gave you such rights? As decent as the soldier thinks he is, the ideal thing would have been to advise the lady on moral grounds and not this primitive attitude of most Nigerian law enforcement agents. Nonsense.”
Also, Olangbin Gabriel Adeniyi on Facebook asked why a soldier would beat up anyone for dressing in a particular way, saying the act was a pointer to what had become of the rule of law in Nigeria.
Adeniyi added, “What has happened to the democracy we all agitated for? Where is our freedom and right as a citizen of this country? I never support indecency but stripping a civilian is absurd.”
Another Facebook user, Oripanye Tayewo Stephen, added, “This is a barbaric act! What has he got to do with that? Is that Sambisa forest or Borno State? Please the public, help this innocent girl to get justice. Nigerians are suffocating under this government.”
The spokesman for 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major Olaniyi Osoba, said the military was investigating the video and urged the victim to officially report the case.
He said, “For any case of assault, let it be officially reported. Like the one you mentioned now, I am working on it already. The only challenge I have is that the quality of the video is poor; I can’t even see the face of the person (soldier). We will take appropriate action. We don’t condone such unprofessional acts.”