The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), on Wednesday, struck down a regulation of the Nigeria Police Force prohibiting unmarried female personnel from getting pregnant.
The controversial Regulation 127 of the Nigeria Police Regulation made pursuant to the Police Establishment Act 2020 provides for the dismissal of any unmarried policewoman who gets pregnant.
But in a landmark judgement on Wednesday at the NICN, Akure Division, Ondo State, South-west Nigeria, the judge, D. K. Damulak, held that the police regulation is “discriminatory, illegal, null and void.”
The court held that the regulation “violates section 42 of the (Nigerian) constitution and article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act which abolished discrimination on basis of gender.”
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that Omolola Olajide of the Ekiti Police Command was dismissed on 26 January 2021 by Mohammed Adamu, the then Inspector-General of Police, for getting pregnant while being single.
Miss Olajide, through her lawyer, Funmi Falana, challenged her dismissal on the grounds that the police authorities had discriminated against her since her male counterparts are not dismissed in similar circumstances.
Pregnant constable sues police authorities for her dismissal
In nullifying the law, the judge said “the court…finds and holds that the provision of Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulation 127 thereof, which applies to unmarried women police officers getting pregnant while in service but does not apply to unmarried male police officers impregnating females while they are in service, are discriminatory against unmarried women police officers by Section 1(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”
Setting the grounds for quashing the regulation, the judge said: “if any law is inconsistent with the provision of this constitution, this constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of its inconsistency be void.”
Olajide’s case succeeds in part
In a certified true copy of the verdict seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the judge said the claimant’s case succeeded in part.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the case of the claimant (Miss Olajide) succeeds in part…,” the judge said, pointing out the illegality in the police law.
The judge awarded aggravated damages of N5 million for the violation of Miss Olajide’s fundamental right to freedom from discrimination.
However, the judge refused Miss Olajide’s request for reinstatement into the police.
The judge held that the claimant’s dismissal could not be reversed as she was on probation at the time of her sack from the Nigeria Police Force.
How Olajide was sacked
In her statement of claim filed in court, Miss Olajide narrated that the reason given for her “disengagement” in a signal sent to the Divisional Police Officer in charge of her station in Iye-Ekiti on 20 January 2021, “was that I contravened regulation 127 made pursuant to the Police Act against women getting pregnant before marriage and consequently dismissed.”
The claimant said she was phoned by the DPO Iye-Ekiti, Humphrey Ogbu, a deputy superintendent of police, on 21 January 2021, informing her to be at the Nigeria Police Medical Service, Ekiti State Command, Cottage Hospital, Ado Ekiti, to undergo a medical test.
“That I went for the test alongside one ASP Dauda Jimoh who collected the original copy of the result of the medical test on behalf of the defendants.”
READ ALSO: Ekiti files suit to challenge dismissal of unmarried pregnant police
According to her, the medical test conducted on her at the Police Medical Service, Ekiti State Command, “was done after the signal of my dismissal was already issued and sent out by the 1st defendant (the police).”
“All police documents in my possession were also to be retrieved with immediate effect and my salary stopped,” she added.
The claimant lamented that she was “never invited for interrogation or question by the defendants” before s was relieved of her job.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999