Lance Corporal Philomena Nnamoko, a 39-year-old female soldier stationed at Ilese Barracks in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria, has made an emotional plea to the Nigerian Army, expressing her urgent desire for a voluntary discharge from service. Nnamoko, who is currently grappling with psychological issues and emotional distress, claims that her numerous appeals for discharge have fallen on deaf ears.
In an interview with the PUNCH, Lance Corporal Nnamoko revealed her anguish, stating, “I am gradually losing my mind, I am psychologically imbalanced, and people are saying they want to book me for AWOL. I cannot go through that torture again. I want to leave the service. The pain is too much. I want to be discharged from this job.”
Nnamoko went on to express her frustration with the Nigerian Army’s response to her pleas, saying, “The last letter I wrote was on December 11, 2022, and the last batch of those discharged was on July 28, 2023, but my name was not there. Even those who had just written theirs and submitted it in January and February were discharged. I have written more than ten letters to the Army asking for a voluntary discharge, but I have not been considered. I don’t know what I have done.”
Her legal counsel, Kayode Oshiyemi, shared his concerns about Nnamoko’s emotional well-being and the army’s inexplicable refusal to grant her request for discharge. Oshiyemi emphasized, “She is currently going through an emotional trauma. She has written three letters since after the first publication by The PUNCH on this matter. But why she is not being discharged is still a mystery to us. Let them let her go; she wants to leave the service. She comes to my office crying every day. Please, let the Army discharge her freely; she wants out.”
In response to the situation, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, explained that there are specific terms and conditions for discharges from the Nigerian Army. He emphasized, “The Nigerian Army is not an Army of conscription. There are terms and conditions of service guiding the enlistment or commissioning, period of service and even discharge or retirement of personnel of the Nigerian Army. Once the personnel concerned meets these provisions for discharge or retirement, it will be approved.”
Meanwhile, Major Olaniyi Osoba, the spokesperson for the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, expressed a willingness to hear Nnamoko’s concerns, stating, “Tell the female soldier to call me. I want to hear from her.”
As the plea of Lance Corporal Philomena Nnamoko continues to attract attention and sympathy, the Nigerian Army faces growing scrutiny over its handling of voluntary discharges and the well-being of its personnel.