A Lagos-based hotel manager, Ms Omolara Koleoso, has accused some soldiers at the Ikeja Cantonment of unlawfully detaining her for arguing with their colleague. She said she was detained for over 24 hours without food, adding that family members who came were not allowed to see her.
It took the intervention of a senior officer in the barracks before the woman was released around 8pm on Saturday. Around 4pm on Friday, Koleoso had gone to pick her daughter, who is a pupil of the Command Day Secondary School within the cantonment, after receiving a call that she was ill.
She wanted to drive out of the barracks, a female soldier shut the gate and reportedly demanded that the pupil disembarked from the car and joined other students for sanitation in the school. Attempts by the mother to convince her that the daughter was ill and needed to rest reportedly fell on deaf ears, after which an altercation ensued.
Koleoso said: “My daughter was in the school on that day at 7am for the NECO Food and Nutrition practical exam. I am an old student of the school and I have a good relationship with the management. My daughter later called me, saying she was feeling dizzy. It has never happened to her before, so I had to rush back to the school. I met with one of her teachers and after she was through with the practical, we left the school.
“As I drove towards the gate, a soldier – I don’t know her name but I can recognise her – closed it. She told my daughter to go back. I pleaded with her that she was ill, but she refused. When I asked why she allowed other students to go out, she became angry and we started exchanging words. She called me a bloody civilian and I told her that I deserved some respect. Another soldier begged her to let us leave, but she refused.”
Koleoso said that four other soldiers suddenly appeared and accused her of attempting to beat an officer.
She said: “She pushed me; they said I was drunk. I said no and they ordered me into the military post. One of them, my daughter and I entered my car and I drove to the post. They locked me up in the cell and after some hours they took me out and detained me at the counter.
“I was there without food and water until around 8pm on Saturday. My mother and a retired senior police officer came, but they were not allowed to see me. It was a major that called them on the telephone and ordered that I should be released. I heard some of them say, ‘that woman did not do anything wrong, it is just a show of power’. They told me to come back by 9am on Tuesday (today) for resolution or be handed over to the police for violating barracks law,” she said.
The spokesperson, 81 Division, Lagos, Lt. Col. Benjamin Joseph, urged Koleoso to formally report the matter and promised that the command would take appropriate actions on it.