Today, a report was released of a female police officer named Olajide Omolola, who got sacked for getting pregnant while being unmarried. This started after the Department of Finance and Administration in Ado Ekiti sent a signal to where Omolola was based, informing the authorities in charge to stop the payment of her salary and to have her relieved of her duties.
The full document reads, “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.”
When Nigerians online got the news, many pointed to the discriminatory body of this law and the way it continues to make workplace structure unequal for women.
This got us thinking about what other binding laws apply to Nigerian female police officers and what they essentially mean.
- Female police officers are required to seek permission to marry.
This law in Section 124 mandates female police officers to seek permission before getting married so some background checks can be carried out on them. This law, however, does not apply to men. While contributing to a bill that sought to end existing discrimination against women in the police force in December 2019, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said, “A male counterpart can marry a criminal. Nobody will go to check whether the woman he wants to marry is a criminal or not. A man does not need to write to ask for permission to marry and the question of not being able to bear arms.”
- Female police officers are not allowed to drill under arms.
Nestled in Section 123, this law means that Nigerian female police officers cannot bear arms while carrying out their duties.
- No Maternity Leave.
According to section 126, female police officers do not have the privilege of getting maternity leave should they happen to be pregnant. It isn’t clear what alternatives the law provides for this specific situation (although we suspect job termination) but the law still remains.
- Nigerian Female police officers are not allowed to wear jewelry on duty.
Yes, you read that right. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings and all things deemed jewellery are prohibited on female police officers who are on duty (Section 128). It is not quite clear why this law was passed, or what goal it serves. It is not certain if a revised bill will be passed any time soon.
There are more laws that directly discriminate against Nigerian female police officers and deter them from enjoying privileges such as choosing who to love, and ensuring job security for them and financial support for their families, as the law only recognizes men as viable candidates for family support when they are gone. This needs to change.