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Friday, December 2, 2022

Unmarried pregnant police officers: Ex-CP hails judgment

By Michael Ofulue

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The Federal High Court ruling that refused to nullify police Regulation 127, that forbids unmarried female police officers from getting pregnant, has been described as a right decision.

A retired Commissioner of Police, Mr Hamzat Ameyi, who headed many strategic positions in the Nigerian Police Force, especially at Special Anti-Fraud Unit at Force Headquarters in Abuja before his retirement, stated this in an interview yesterday.

He disclosed that it was clearly stated in the police Regulations that unmarried police women should not get pregnant after three years of recruitment into the Force.

He explained that every female police officer is aware of the Regulations and hailed the decision of the Court which held the Regulations, saying, it has been there and every police officer, either male or female knows the rules of engagement before joining the police.

The Regulation provides “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 of Police.”

He disclosed that the decision of the Court was sequel to an action filed by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), querying the legality of the 127 Police Regulations of the Nigerian police Force.

The police Chief hinted that what premised the NBA to approach the Court was a case of one Omolola Olajide, a female police officer that was sacked in Ekiti State on January 26, 2021, for being pregnant while unmarried.

According to him, NBA was of the view that such 127 Regulation was discriminatory and that it had also rendered many female officers childless for fear of being sacked, adding that  the Regulations was to enable unmarried police officers to marry properly.

“The regulation has been their. It is not to punish anyone, either female or male police officers because all of them know the provisions before they were enlisted into the job.

“Any police woman who wants to marry must apply for marriage. Both the intending bride or groom will write to police authority for approval. After the police receive their applications, it will be subjected to investigation by operatives of Special Enquiry Bureau (SIB) before the marriage could take place.

“All these procedures are important to guide against Female police officers from marrying people of dubious characters and also ensuring that consent of both parties’ parents are sought. You can’t hid pregnancy because after 3 months  it will show. Every police woman is expected to put on uniform while on duty but pregnant once who marry legally are excluded to wear uniform after 3 months of the pregnancy. “he stated.

“The Nigeria Police Act and Regulations are special creations of law. The Nigeria Police Act and Regulations provide the framework for the Police Force in maintaining peace, combating crime, protecting liberties, life and property, and other related matters.

According to the police boss, law enforcement requires the performance of essential functions which are strongly contingent upon a high level of physical fitness.

“Environmental conditions of policing and law enforcement can create potential conflicts between police duties and pregnancy.

“As an unmarried police woman, you cannot hid from your shadow when you are pregnant. But if you are properly married and follow due process of marriage, there will not be problem for you. Every police woman that gives birth is entitled to three or six months maternity leave.

“All concerned police authority is to ensure unmarried female police officers do the right thing and not to  discriminate or humiliate anyone as police institution is noted for discipline and respect for constituted authorities.

The police boss, however, advised unmarried police officers to always comply with the police Act and Regulations and stop dragging police authorities into avoidable litigation.

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