Senate amends Police Act for betterment of female officers
The Senate yesterday passed for second reading a bill to amend the Nigerian Police Force Act to expunge all discriminations against female officers.
The piece of legislation seeks to ensure that all personnel are treated equally in terms of entitlements and promotions .
The sponsor, Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi, claimed that some provisions of Act were gender-discriminatory and outdated considering the role of female officers in contemporary policing.
He added that, “these provisions restricted duties to be assigned to women to telephones, clerical and office duties.”
The extant law, it was learnt, compels the single female officer who wants to marry to seek approval of the Inspector General of Police who is at liberty to inquire the occupation, residence and character of the suitor.
More disturbing, according to the bill, was the consequence for the female officer who got pregnant without a union sanctioned by the IGP.
The Act states: “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.”
Onyewuchi argued that the law was archaic and irrelevant in today’s Nigeria, adding: “The above regulations of the Police Act were enacted in 1968 at a time when the societal attitude to women in the workplace was very different from what it is today.”
The bill noted: “Since a male police officer is not subjected to the same inhibitions, the current regulations are inconsistent with Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex.
“There is therefore a need to expunge the above regulations as it is not reasonably justifiable in a democratic state like Nigeria which has domesticated the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
“Relying on the provisions of the constitution, the African Charter and the principles of equity and good conscience, a move should be made for the discriminatory provisions of the Police Act and regulations to be expunged.”