In a candid interview with The Punch newspaper, Lance Corporal Philomena Nnamoko, a brave Nigerian soldier, reveals a distressing account of persistent maltreatment, sexual harassment, and the shocking denial of her discharge request by superiors.
Nnamoko, a 39-year-old single mother hailing from Enugu State, joined the Nigerian Army in 2009 after the tragic loss of her husband. Motivated by the need to provide for her 23-year-old son, she embarked on a journey that would soon turn into a nightmare of abuse and injustice.
Her military journey took a dark turn during her time stationed in Ibadan. She recounts a disturbing incident in 2010 where she faced an attempted rape in the guardroom. Subsequent events unfolded as she endured physical abuse, humiliation and denial of medical treatment, revealing a systemic issue within the ranks.
The soldier describes a harrowing night in May 2018, where she faced physical assault, leading to injuries and a hospitalization. Despite reporting the incident to military police, she found herself unjustly handcuffed in the guardroom for four weeks. Philomena endured further neglect during her struggle with fibroids, facing a lack of compassion and understanding from her superiors.
Despite her health challenges and numerous attempts to secure a voluntary discharge, Nnamoko faced relentless obstacles. She shares her ordeal of being forcibly taken from her home, experiencing financial hardships due to blocked accounts, and enduring persistent denial of her discharge request.
The soldier details instances of mistreatment from superiors, citing refusal of medical passes, unreasonable tasks, and targeted maltreatment for rejecting sexual advances. Philomena expresses regret for joining the Nigerian Army, highlighting the plight of female soldiers facing similar issues.
Despite reporting incidents to authorities, including the human rights department and legal services, Nnamoko faced a lack of resolution. Her colleagues’ fear of reprisal and the skewed testimonies in favor of higher-ranking officers further exacerbated her struggle for justice.
Nnamoko concludes by expressing her desire to leave the military, urging for compensation and vowing to fight against the injustice she endured. Her plea is a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by female soldiers in the Nigerian Army and the urgent need for reform.
This unsettling account sheds light on the systemic issues within the Nigerian military, raising questions about the treatment of female soldiers and the need for a thorough investigation into Lance Corporal Philomena Nnamoko’s claims.