NIGERIA Police Force (NPF) bosses have sacked a female corporal named as Olajide Omolola for getting pregnant out of wedlock using a Draconian old law that once included a provision that policewomen seek the permission of their superiors before getting married.
In the first such incident of its kind, a signal dismissing Corporal Omolola was sent from the NPF department of finance and administration in Ado Ekiti to the divisional police officer at Iye Ekiti where she was based. In the document it was stated that Corporal Omolola completed police training on April 24, 2020 and was attached to the Iye Ekiti police station.
The document read: “Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulation against women police getting pregnant before marriage. Woman Corporal Olajide Omolola, who passed out of police training school on 24/04/2020, contravened above provisions.”
However, the parts of the Police Act which was used to justify the sacking had been repealed in the amended Police Act that was signed into law by the President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2020. Part of the old law which has been repealed also made it compulsory for policewomen to seek the permission of their superiors before getting married.
Opposed to the move, Dr Innocent Chukwuma, the regional director for Ford Foundation, West Africa, said indeed, the aspect of the Police Act which barred unmarried policewomen from getting pregnant had been repealed. He however, said the law had not yet been gazetted, hence the ignorance of its provisions by the police.
Dr Chukwuma said: “That aspect of the law which is discriminatory against women has been repealed, however, the law has not been gazetted but it doesn’t mean it should not be upheld. Gazetting is a mere administrative process, which entails officially publishing and making it available to all stakeholders and government establishments. Until that is done, they are usually reluctant to uphold the law.”
Human rights activists have in recent time kicked against discriminatory laws against women especially those working in security agencies. In August 2020, the Nigerian Army dismissed a soldier for getting pregnant after she was raped by suspected bandits while travelling to Ogbomoso in Oyo State.
Despite being a rape victim, she was charged with one count of conduct prejudicial to service discipline. She was subsequently found guilty and dismissed from her regiment and the Nigerian Army.