Group sues FG, police for sacking pregnant policewoman

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Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

A rights group, Women Empowerment and Legal Aid, has sued the Federal Government and the Nigeria Police Force for sacking a policewoman, Omotola Olajide, for getting pregnant outside wedlock.

The fundamental human rights suit was instituted before a Federal High Court in Lagos by Activist, and Chairman of WELA, Mrs. Funmi Falana.

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The PUNCH had exclusively reported how Olajide, who works in Oye, Ekiti State Police Command, was sacked for getting pregnant outside wedlock.

In an affidavit deposed to by Dipo Omotosho, a litigation officer at the law firm of Falana and Falana Chambers, it was stated that the sacked policewoman had given WELA the authority to pursue the case and help her get justice.

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The deponent stated that the Federal Government enacted the Police Act 2020 to guide the operations of the Nigeria Police Force in September 2020.

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He further stated that Regulation 127 made pursuant to police Act, 2020 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.

According to Omotosho, Regulation 127 of the Police Act was used to dismiss many pregnant unmarried female officers.

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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“The applicant (WELA) wrote to the 2nd respondent (police) and requested that the dismissal of Omolola Olajide be withdrawn but the request was ignored.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.”

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The applicant therefore asked the court to declare 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 is discriminatory, illegal, null, and void as it contravenes the provisions of Sections 37and 42 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 2 &3 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

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The applicant is also, “seeking an order of the honourable court directing the respondents (police and Federal Government) to expunge Regulation 127 made pursuant to the Police Act Cap 19 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 forthwith.”

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