Single Women in the Nigerian Police Force Are Expected to Remain Virgins. Here’s Why

February 24, 2022

Narcos isn’t the only action film going on in the police force. 

It’s 2022 and, added to the fight against corruption, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is also up against fornication — among women only, that is. Yes, being unmarried and pregnant are grounds for dismissal even when you’re serving your country. 

Is this even legal?

According to section 127 (also referred to as Regulation 127) of the 2006 Nigerian Police Regulations (NPR), an unmarried woman on the Police Force, who becomes pregnant shall be discharged from the Force and shall not be re-enlisted except with the approval of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

The regulation insists that a female police officer must undergo post-training experience on the field for at least two years before marriage and three years before childbearing.

Or in this case, get sacked?

Still in doubt? 

Let’s roll the tape on Olajide Omolola, an ex-police officer in Ekiti State. 

In January 2021, she was dismissed from the force based on Regulation 127 of the 2006 Police Act, because she was  pregnant while unmarried. 

Stay with me

Next, activists from the Humanist Association of Nigeria (HAN) took to the stage and demanded the reinstatement of Omolola on the Force. This push was based on the 2019 Police Amendment Bill which describes Regulation 127 as discriminatory .

If this were a game of cards with your school guys, this is the point you’d shout, “Last card!” and end the game. Sadly, victory wasn’t in sight for Omolola. 

According to the Ekiti State Police Commissioner, Mr Babatunde Mobayo, the repeal of Regulation 127 under the 2019 Police Amendment Bill had not been gazetted.

A quick lesson

When a bill hasn’t been gazetted, it means that the bill hasn’t officially been publicised by the government. So anything you hear about a bill is hearsay until it’s in the government gazette. Essentially, the 2019 Police Amendment Bill, can’t be applied in court to overrule a decision, as in the case of Omolola. 

So, as for Mobayo, the dismissal by the Nigerian Police Force was justified. For him, Omolola’s pregnancy was scandalous because it happened less than a year after graduating from the Nigerian Police Force. 

The Nigerian Police Force to single women in the Force

Guess what?

Regulation 127 in the Police Act also exists for women serving in the Nigerian Army. Before Omolola, in August 2020, an unnamed soldier got dismissed from the Force after being raped by bandits in Ogbomosho. The dismissal was justified based on the offence of ‘Conduct Prejudicial to Service Discipline’ under section 103(1). Her lawyer, Barr Oyewole tried to fight this ruling, but he also had to “pick two” in this game of cards.

So what’s happening with Omolola?

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) took NPF to court and filed a suit against Regulation 127 as a discriminatory act. Their angle was the purpose of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution to uphold our human rights, particularly, sections 37 and 42 of the Constitution.

Here’s the summary: Section 37 guarantees every Nigerian the right to private and family life, while Section 42 provides for the right to freedom from discrimination.

So who won this round?

There was no round to win because the defendants told the NBA to go and sit down.

The defendants to a whole NBA

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force who were listed as defendants in the suit never responded. They simply submitted a counter-affidavit and asked for a dismissal of the court case. Talk about playing with the big boys.

On Monday 21 January, Justice Iyang Ewo refused to nullify Regulation 127. The ruling states: “It is my opinion, the Regulation 127 of the Police Act is to be seen as a code of conduct for an unmarried woman in the Police Force.”

Basically, the Judge took us off-court and asked the NBA to go to “general market”, effectively closing the case.

NBA after the ruling on Monday

So, scorecards?

Patriarchy — 1

Single Nigerian women in the Police Force — 0

Boys and girls, the moral of this story? Get your PVC.

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