Female cops get the spousal nod

Move over police chiefs, the game is up!

Female cops in Nigeria yesterday got a legal nod to exercise independent rights in their spousal choices.

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos trashed provision of the Police Act that prohibits a woman police officer from marrying a man of her choice without the permission of the Commissioner of Police describing it illegal and unconstitutional.

Mrs. Funmi Falana, executive director of the Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative (WELA), led the assault on the discriminatory “Regulation 124” of the Police Act (which states:

A woman Police Officer who is desirous of marrying must first apply in writing to the Commissioner of Police for the State Command in which she is serving, requesting permission to marry and giving name, address and occupation of the person she intends to marry. Permission will be granted for the marriage if the intended husband is of good character and the woman police officer has served in the force for a period of not less than three years.”

Mrs. Falana argued that it was illegal to ban a woman police officer for three years before entering into a marriage and that seeking permission of a Police Commissioner is an abuse of her fundamental right to dignity and freedom of choice.

Why would a male police not be subjected to the same inhibitions of “Regulation 124”? She queried, adding that the law is inconsistent with section 42 of the Constitution and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex.

Ruling, the trial judge rejected the arguments of the Attorney-General of the Federation, and declaring Regulation 124 illegal and inconsistent with Section 42 of the Constitution, proceeded to annul it.


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