Reinstate Corporal Olajide Omolola Now
Sir: Our attention has been drawn to the news of the dismissal of Corporal Olajide Omolola, a female police officer, on the basis of a now-repealed Section 127 of the Police Act, which prohibits pregnancy before marriage for female police officers ONLY. (emphasis ours). The said-sack was contained in the police wireless message with reference number CJ:4161/EKS/IY/Vol.2/236, DTO: 181330/01/2021.
It is very sad that at this age and era, the Nigeria Police Force could still operate with a law that best be described as obnoxious; a provision that segregates against women.
Ordinarily, such law, for all purposes negates the intent of the constitutional provisions granting all Nigerians – both male and female, fundamental rights to private and family life and freedom from discrimination. Justice and fairness do not permit or condone such, so we strongly condemn the same.
The decision smacks of patriarchy and misogyny. Do you think if men used to get pregnant this regulation would exist and apply? Of course not. Otherwise, where is the law or regulation that punishes policemen for giving birth to children outside their marriage? Where is the law and regulation that penalizes male police officers for having children before marriage?
The Nigerian Police Force should not be seen as an institution that hates and discriminates against women. The Force must not target and/or penalize women for desiring to build a family life. After all, getting or being pregnant is not a crime under Nigerian Law.
Female police officers who get pregnant before or after marriage, within or without marriage deserve the support of the police establishment and not sacking or dismissal.
To this end, Nigerian humanists demand that the Inspector General of Police reverses the dismissal, and reinstates Corporal Olajide Omolola immediately. The IGP should consider that this application of the law promotes unjust treatment of an officer based on her gender. This, we strongly condemn and urge the Nigerian Police Authority to look into the matter. The dismissal of this female police officer is a gendered decision and a national embarrassment. It is incompatible with the norms and values of the 21st century!
Please, reinstate Corporal Olajide Omolola now!
Leo Igwe, Zainab Hassan, Enokela Murphy Adama, Daniel Nnaji are members of the Humanist Association of Nigeria