Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has described the humiliation and assault meted out on a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Ezeiruaku Ifeyinwa Fidelia, as unfortunate and unacceptable.
In the now viral video shared by journalist and activist, Agba Jalingo, a female soldier identified as Lt. Chika Viola Anele, is seen pouring unknown liquid suspected to be dirty water on the NYSC member in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
Tallen said she was appalled by the development.
“It is unfortunate that while we are raising the bar in our campaign to sustain the zero-tolerance against SGBV at all levels in the country, including the Security Sector, an act of such nature can still occur,” she said.
The Minister said for the world to witness such a video at a time her ministry is championing the elimination of all forms of violence against women was disheartening.
“On behalf of Nigerian Women and all our partners in the fight against SGBV, we condemn unequivocally this unacceptable and unimaginable incidence and stand in solidarity to say No to Violence in all its ramifications,”
Tallen said she, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, as well as the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, would ensure the woman in the video gets justice.
She noted that the assaulted female NYSC member would be relocated to Lagos on her request from the area of exposure.
The Minister commended all concerned Nigerians who identified all parties to get to the root of the matter.
“I also thank all the concerned individuals who felt duty-bound to support our efforts at locating all the concerned parties. I want to assure all Nigerians that alongside my colleague, Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports, DG NYSC, we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the corps member gets the desired justice,”
“Let me use this opportunity to salute the members of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs-Emergency Group Against (SGBV) for their tireless contributions in helping us stem the tide of the pandemic of GBV
“I want to reassure all Nigerians that the corps member will formally relocate to Lagos this morning (24/09-21), following her request to be so deployed. For the purpose of further clarity, the victim has in a telephone conversation also confirmed that at no point was her phone seized
“As the Minister for Women Affairs and as a Nigerian woman and mother, I appeal for calm and assure you that we will continue to engage with the leadership of the Nigeria Army to forestall such re-occurrence.”
A Nigerian journalist and human rights activist, Agba Jalingo, had shared a video on his Facebook page showing the officer pouring an unknown white substance on the kneeling corps member after which she hit her with a bowl.
"#JusticeForIfenyinwa. This is what a commissioned female Army officer, Lt. Chika Viola Anele, did to a youth corps member, Ezeiruaku Ifeyinwa Fidelia, serving at the 13 Brigade headquarters in Calabar after having an argument,” Jalingo had posted.
“We understand that the leadership in 13 Brigade are working to kill the matter. Let us make the officer very popular for all the wrong reasons. Share the video until it gets to the Chief of Army Staff and that Chika girl is brought to book."
Reacting in a statement, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director Army Public Relations condemned the act describing it as “unprofessional.”
He urged members of the public to continue to report such infractions to the force while he apologized to the affected corps member, her family members, friends, National Youth Service Corps and to Nigerians in general for the unwholesome treatment while promising to ensure justice.
The statement reads, “The Nigerian Army has taken cognizance of a video clip currently making the rounds on the social media, where a female officer was seen dehumanizing a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Calabar, Cross River State. This act is not only condemnable but unprofessional and against established precepts of discipline in the NA.
“The NA has remained undoubtedly the pride of the nation, a symbol of national unity that has consistently been in the vanguard of respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.
Giving an update on Thursday afternoon, the activist said Lieutenant Anele has been arrested by the military police and was under interrogation.
“The Army Officer, Lt. Chika Viola Anele, who was caught on video dehumanizing and humiliating a Youth Corper, Ezeiruaku Ifenyinwa Fidelia in Calabar earlier, has just been arrested by the MP, after our report and under interrogation. #JusticeForIfenyinwa,” he posted.