By Victor Ogunje
The Ekiti State Government through the Attorney-General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Wale Fapohunda, has dragged the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, to court over the dismissal of a police constable, Omolola Olajide, for getting pregnant without serving the required number of years.
The AG contended that the government took the legal option having considered the dismissal as a constitutional infraction, abberration and flagrant discrimination against women in the Force.
Fapohunda, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Olalekan Suleiman, on Sunday, said the suit marked FHC/AD/CS/8/2021, filed in the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Judicial Division, sought a determination of several questions.
The suit, according to him, asked whether by combined provisions of Sections 37 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and Articles 2 ,3, 5, 18(3) and 19 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the provisions of Section 127 of Police Act and Regulation Cap. P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, are not unconstitutional, null and void.
“The Attorney-General by this suit is also 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, Commissioner of Police, Ekiti State Command and the Police Service Commission from implementing the said provisions.
“The Attorney-General has written to the Inspector General of Police offering the support of the Ministry of Justice, Ekiti State in conducting a gender audit of the Police Act and Regulations,” he said.
Fapohunda added that the litigation was prodded by several petitions from the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and several other women rights groups in Ekiti State to his office concerning the matter of a woman police discharged from the Nigeria Police Force because of her pregnancy status.
He said: “The communication from the Nigeria Police Headquarters revealed that the woman police officer was discharged from the Nigeria Police in compliance with Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulations Cap. P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“Section 127 provides that ‘an unmarried woman police officer who becomes pregnant shall be discharged from the Force, and shall not be re-enlisted except with the approval of the Inspector-General’.
“The AG 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 amended) as well as several regional and international treaties to which Nigeria is a party including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
He said the state government is committed to the eradication of all forms of discrimination against women in public and private life, adding that the state has 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.