Nigerians have expressed outrage over the sacking of a female corporal, Olajide Omolola because she got pregnant out of wedlock.
They slammed the Nigeria Police Force over what they described as a discriminatory law and called on rights group to fight for the woman.
The police, in a wireless message with reference number CJ:4161/EKS/IY/Vol.2/236, DTO:181330/01/2021 obtained by us, 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.”
Our correspondents, however, gathered that the aspect of the Act relied on to justify the sacking had been repealed in the amended police Act signed into law by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in September 2020.
Part of the old law, which has been repealed, also made it compulsory for policewomen to seek the permission of their superiors before getting married.
A champion of police reforms in Nigeria, Dr Innocent Chukwuma, who is also the Regional Director for Ford Foundation, West Africa, confirmed that the aspect of the Act which barred unmarried policewomen from getting pregnant had been repealed.
Chukwuma, however, said the law had not yet been gazetted, hence the ignorance of its provisions by the police.
“But it doesn’t mean it should not be upheld. Gazetting is a mere administrative process. It 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,” he added.
A spokesman for the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, declined comment on the matter.
The Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer, Sunday Abutu, said the police action was based on existing law.
He said, “It was Police Act Section 124 that was repealed by the court, not Section 127. Section 127 still stands. Section 124 talks about 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. It is in the police act and regulation. It is a regimented organisation and we have our rules and regulations which everyone must comply with.”
Gidipoint Online readers said the law was discriminatory.
A reader with the alias, Heartbreak kid, said, “What if she decided never to marry and decides to get pregnant? What happens if an unmarried policeman impregnates a woman? This law is discriminatory.”
Another reader, Theophilus, urged the policewoman to challenge the decision.
I hope women’s groups challenge the legality of this action. The choice to marry or not is a personal choice. How come getting pregnant is a bigger offence than ‘Roger’ or killing of unarmed citizens? Would the same apply to a policeman who impregnates a lady he is not married to? This is outright hypocrisy,” another reader, Bosun Oladipo, wrote.
A reader, David Benjamin, wondered if the Inspector General of Police preferred that single policewomen “fornicate, get pregnant and thereafter commit abortions.”