Wife of fiery Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist, Funmi Falana has faulted the dismissal of a policewoman in Ekiti State Command for getting pregnant out of wedlock.
Funmi, who is the chairperson of the Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA), in a letter dated Thursday, January 28, 2021, described the dismissal as discriminatory, illegal and unconstitutional, and therefore, demand the immediate reinstatement of the lady by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
Recall that the Ekiti State Command of the Nigeria Police had earlier defended the dismissal, quoting Police Act Section 127, which says that any Police officer who is unmarried and eventually gets pregnant shall be disengaged from the force.
But Falana referred the police to a judicial precedence, which mandated that laws that apply to policewomen should also apply to the menfolk.
“In other words, since policemen who impregnate women before marriage are allowed to remain in the Nigeria Police Force,” she said. “It is discriminatory and unjust to dismiss a policewoman for getting pregnant before marriage.”
Read Funmi Falana’s Full Letter to the IGP:
January 28, 2021
Mr Ibrahim Adamu,
The Inspector-General of Police,
Police Force Headquarters,
Louis Edet House,
REQUEST TO RECALL DISMISSED PREGNANT POLICE OFFICER
The Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA) has confirmed that
by a Wireless Message with Reference No C/4161/EKS/TY/Vol.2/236,
DTO:181330/01/2021 Corporal Omotola of the Ekiti State Police Command
was dismissed for getting pregnant while she is not married.
In justifying the discriminatory treatment meted out to Miss Omotola the
Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Sunday Abutu said that “It
was Police Act Section 124 that was repealed by the Court, not Section
127. Section 127 still stands. Section 124 talks about woman 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 organization and we have our rules and regulations which
everyone must comply with. ”
Since the views expressed by Mr Abutu represent the official position of
the Nigeria Police Force, it is pertinent to refer the Police Authorities to the
case of Women Empowerment and Legal Aid v. Attorney-General of the
Federation (2015) 1 NHRLR 39 at 57 where the Federal High Court Per
Adah J. (as he then was) held as follows:
“The most fundamental issue is if this is the policy laid down for the police, does it apply to the menfolk. It is not. So it is only issued to women police officers because of their gender as women and this is very much unconstitutional.”
Under Section 5(3) of the Police Act 2020, the Nigeria Police Force is charged with the responsibility of promoting and protecting the fundamental rights of all persons as guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
In view of the foregoing, you will agree with us that Section 127 of the Police Regulation which discriminates against police women is illegal and unconstitutional. In other words, since policemen who impregnate Women before marriage are allowed to remain in the Nigeria Police Force. It is discriminatory and unjust to dismiss a police woman for getting pregnant before marriage.
Finally, as it is indisputable that Corporal Omotola is entitled to freedom from discrimination guaranteed by Section 42 of the Constitution and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, we request you to use your good offices to order her reinstatement not later than January 31, 2021.
TAKE NOTICE that if our request is not granted we shall challenge the dismissal of Mrs. Omotola at the National Industrial Court and pray for the annulment of Regulation 127 made pursuant to the Police Act, 2020.