Pregnant cop: Ekiti sues IGP, says police regulations violate constitution

The Ekiti State Ministry of Justice has dragged the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to court over the dismissal of a policewoman resident in the state, Omolola Olajide, for being pregnant out of wedlock.

Joined as co-defendants in the suit said to be “in defence of the woman police officer’s rights” are the state Commissioner of Police and the Police Service Commission.

Communication from the police last month had shown that the Olajide was discharged from the force in compliance with Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulations Cap. P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

But the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, in suit FHC/AD/CS/8/2021 filed before the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Judicial Division, is, among others, seeking a declaration that Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulations, which provides for the discharge from the force women, who become pregnant while unmarried, as unconstitutional.

Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulations provides that “an unmarried woman police officer, who becomes pregnant, shall be discharged from the force and shall not be re-enlisted except with the approval of the inspector-general.”

A statement on Sunday by the Special Assistant to the Attorney-General on Media, Olalekan Suleman, stated, “Fapohunda has reviewed the said police regulations and found several provisions in violation of sections 37 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as well as several regional and international treaties to which Nigeria is a party to, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

The suit seeks to determine whether by the combined provisions of sections 37 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and Articles 2, 3, 5, 18(3) and 19 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the provisions of Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulation Cap. P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, are not unconstitutional, null and void.

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The AG is also “seeking an order nullifying Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulations as well as an order of perpetual injunction restraining the IG, the Ekiti State Commissioner of Police and the PSC from implementing the said provisions.”

According to the statement, Fapohunda has also written to the IG offering the support of the Ekiti State Ministry of Justice in conducting a gender audit of the Police Act and Regulations.

The AG reiterated that the Ekiti State Government’s commitment to the eradication of all forms of discrimination against women in public and private life, and as such had enacted several laws, including the Gender-Based Violence (Prohibition) Law, 2020 (as amended) and enabled policies aimed at protecting the rights of women in Ekiti State.

He said that the International Federation of Women Lawyers and several other women rights groups in the state had written to him concerning the matter the policewoman.

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