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Female combatants are still being trained by the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), defence headquarters said on Tuesday.

In a PUNCH report, it was revealed that the armed forces council has recommended an end to the admission of female cadets following a recommendation by northern Muslim leaders.

John Enenche, a major-general and director of defence information, described the report as “disinformation to the general public by mischievous individuals”.

Enechie wrote: “The attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to a news being spread in the print and online Media about stoppage of training female cadets in order to be commissioned as Regular Combatant officers into the Armed Forces of Nigeria. This is an act of disinformation to the general public by mischievous individuals. The contents of all those publications are ill intended concoctions, not authentic and should therefore be disregarded outrightly.

“Extantly, the provision in the terms and conditions of service for female officers of the Nigerian Military is that ‘They are eligible for all the types of Commission that are grantable to their male counterparts’, which has not changed.

“This is for tile information of the general public and female Nigerians in particular.”

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However, the report did not say the programme has been stopped already — but that the armed forces council has recommended ending it.

A general was quoted thus: “When we started the training of female cadets in 2011, we never thought it would be successful. When the first set of women cadets graduated from the academy last year, women won three awards, including the best award in the navy category.

“A female cadet, C. Lord-Mallam, won the Navy Gold award which is the highest in the navy category. The Army Silver award, which is the second highest in the army, went to a female cadet, K. O Dayo-Karim. The Air Force Silver award was also won by a female cadet, O. S Ijelu.

“However, some northern conservatives were not happy about it because most of the female cadets are either Christians from the South and northern minority groups or Muslims from the South and Middle Belt.

“Dissatisfied with how things are turning out, the northern Muslim leaders lobbied the military authorities to stop the programme for women.”

The Goodluck Jonathan administration had in 2010 ordered the military to allow females who aspired to become combatant officers into the NDA.

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