EKITI State Government has dragged Nigeria’s inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu to court over the recent sacking of policewoman Omolola Olajide for being pregnant outside of wedlock.
Last month, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), sacked Police Corporal Olajide after it emerged that she got pregnant while out of wedlock. 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.
However, the parts of the Police Act which was used to justify the sacking had been repealed in the amended Police Act that was signed into law by the President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2020. Part of the old law which has been repealed also made it compulsory for policewomen to seek the permission of their superiors before getting married.
Responding to the sacking, the Ekiti State government through the state ministry of justice, has dragged Mr Adamu to court. Joined as co-defendants in the suit said to be in defence of the woman police officer’s rights” are the Ekiti State police commissioner and the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Olawale Fapohunda, the Ekiti State attorney-general, filed the suit in the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Judicial Division. His spokesman Olalekan Suleman, said: “Fapohunda has reviewed the said police regulations and found several provisions in violation of sections 37 and 42 of the constitution the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as well as several regional and international treaties to which Nigeria is a party including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
In the suit, Ekiti State is seeking an order nullifying Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulations as well as an order of perpetual injunction restraining the inspector-general of police, the Ekiti State police commissioner and the PSC from implementing the said provisions. Mr Fapohunda has also written to Mr Adamu offering the support of Ekiti State Ministry of Justice in conducting a gender audit of the Police Act and Regulations.
Mr Fapohunda reiterated 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 Ekiti State had written to him concerning the matter of a woman police officer discharged because of her pregnancy status.