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HURIWA charges police to end discrimination against women

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…Says dismissal of pregnant unmarried police operative is unconstitutional

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has carpeted the National Assembly for failing to expunge section 127 of the police Act which discriminates against women in the area of their relationship with the opposite sex.

HURIWA wonders why single ladies in police are by the provision of an extant legislation not allowed to become pregnant whereas policemen who are single but who go about putting girls in the family way by way of impregnating them are never sanctioned with outright dismissal.

The Rights group was reacting to the sacking of a female Police Corporal Olajide Omolola in Ekiti Command of the Nigeria Police Force for getting pregnant while being unmarried just as the Rights group said law makers at the National Assembly should cover their faces in shame for refusing to Jettison section 127 of the Police Act which offends section 42 (1) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution on discriminatory Policies.

The police, in a wireless message with reference number CJ:4161/EKS/IY/Vol.2/236, DTO:181330/01/2021, said Omolola was dismissed for getting pregnant while unmarried.

The signal originated from the Department of Finance and Administration in Ado Ekiti and was addressed to the Divisional Police Officer at Iye Ekiti, where Omolola was based.

The chief financial officer in Ekiti was asked to relay the information to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System to ensure that her salary was stopped.

The document read, “Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulation against women police getting pregnant before marriage; W/PC (woman corporal) Olajide Omolola passed out of Police Training School on 24/04/2020 attached to yours, contravened above provisions.

“She stands dismissed from the Force. Dekit her. Retrieve police documents in her possession with immediate effect. O/C CFO Ekiti only. You are to relay signal to IPPIS Abuja for the stoppage of her salary with immediate effect.

“DECOMPOLS (Deputy Commissioners of Police)/ACPOLS (Assistant Commissioners of Police)/HODs/DPOs Ekiti State only. You are to lecture women police. Treat as very urgent.”

HURIWA said it was shocking that in the 21st Century Nigeria that law makers who are maintained at exorbitant costs to the public treasury, can not successfully amend the Police Act to be in compliance with global best practices just as the Rights group wondered why the National Assembly spent all the resources to amend the police Act last year but left sections that are inimical to Human Rights such as section 124 that was later struck out by a competent court of law but then section 127 was not amended and now constitute a cog in the wheel of progressive enforcement of fundamental human rights of police women in Nigeria. .

Recalled that Police Act Section 124 that was repealed by the court, not Section 127. Section 127 still stands. Section 124 spoke to the issue of women police taking permission from the commissioner before getting married. Section 127 says any police officer who is unmarried and eventually gets pregnant shall be disengaged from the Force.

HURIWA said it was shocking that this discriminatory provision was left intact by the National Assembly when they frittered millions of Naira to amend the police act and regulation. “It is totally unacceptable for the the police Service commission to claim that such a discriminatory provision should remain because in the warped imagination of the spokesman or whoever that spoke with the media within the hierarchy of the Police service commission PSC to say police is a regimented organisation and we have our rules and regulations which everyone must comply with.”

HURIWA said further: “Two years ago, it was reported that the Senate had commenced moves to put an end to discrimination against women in the Nigeria Police Force with Thursday’s consideration of the Police Act Amendment Bill, 2019. The piece of legislation before the National Assembly essentially sought to expunge the provisions of Regulations 122, 123, 124 and 127 from the principal Act.

“Sponsor of the bill, Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi (PDP, Imo East) said the Act under amendment restricts female police officers assigned to general duties in the Police Force to telephone, clerical and office orderly duties. According to the lawmaker, the Act also prohibits women police from drilling under arms; mandates female police officers to apply for permission to marry, while the intending fiancé is investigated for criminal records. These provisions were eventually left intact in the amended version of 2020”.

“There is no rational justification for the imposition of these discriminatory provisions, since they do not in any manner promote the efficiency or discipline of the female police officer.” “Women occupy very senior roles in the Police and have shown themselves to be just as competent and disciplined as their male counterparts. “Since a male police officer is not subjected to the same inhibitions, the current regulations are inconsistent with section 42 of the Constitution and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex”.

HURIWA maintained that since section 127 of the police Act offends Section 42(1) of the Nigerian Constitution which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, it therefore follows that it is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency with section 42(1) of the Nigerian Constitution. The Rights group said the Police should immediately reinstate the dismissed police female dismissed in Ekiti for getting pregnant while unmarried.

 

 


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