A rights group, Women Empowerment and Legal Aid, has filed a suit against the Nigerian Government and Nigeria Police Force for sacking a policewoman, Omotola Olajide, for getting pregnant outside wedlock.
The Chairperson of WELA, Mrs Funmi Falana, filed the fundamental human rights suit at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that Olajide was relieved of her job at the Ekiti State Police Command for getting pregnant outside wedlock.
In a sworn statement deposed by Dipo Omotosho, a litigation officer at the law firm of Falana and Falana Chambers, it was specified that the sacked policewoman had given WELA the authority to pursue the case and help her get justice.
The testifier stated that the Nigerian government enacted the Police Act 2020 to guide the operations of the Nigeria Police Force in September 2020.
He further stated that Regulation 127 made pursuant to Police Act, 2020 offers that a spinster 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.
According to Omotosho, Regulation 127 of the Police Act was used to discharge many pregnant unmarried female officers.
The first respondent is the Attorney General of Federal while the second respondent is Nigeria Police Force.
The affidavit further reads, “On January 26, 2021, a pregnant policewoman, Cpl Omolola Olajide was dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force on the grounds that she is unmarried contrary to Regulation 127 of the Police Act.
“The applicant (WELA) wrote to the 2nd respondent (police) and requested that the dismissal of Omolola Olajide be withdrawn but the request was ignored. I hereby make this declaration in good faith and in accordance with the Oath Act.”
The relief sought by the applicant are: "A declaration that Regulation 127 made pursuant to the Police Act Cap. 19 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 which requires an unmarried woman police officer who becomes pregnant to be discharged from the force, and shall not be re-enlisted except with the approval of the Inspector-General is discriminatory, illegal, null and void as it contravenes the provisions of Sections 37and 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Article 2 &3 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap. A9 Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
"An order of the Honourable Court directing the Respondents to expunge Regulation 127 made pursuant to the Police Act Cap. 19 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 forthwith."
A copy of the sworn affidavit made available to SaharaReporters stated that the grounds on which the reliefs are sought are: "The fundamental right of every person against discrimination is guaranteed under Sections 37 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 2 and 3 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
"It is the duty and responsibility of the Respondents to protect every citizen of Nigeria including women police officers against any form of discrimination.
"Discrimination at the work place is the order of the day in the Nigeria Police Force as pregnant unmarried women are readily dismissed from the force while unmarried male officers who impregnate women are nor dismissed.
"This application seeks to breach the gender inequality and the discrimination at the work place as it is unconstitutional and against the fundamental human rights of the Nigerian woman."