Senate Mulls Radical Reforms To Address Injustice In Nigeria Police

The Senate is proposing some radical reforms geared towards addressing perceived injustice in the Nigeria Police

The Bill seeks to amend the Police Act (Cap P19), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 by expunging the gender-discriminatory provisions of regulations 122,123,124 and 127 and other related matters.

It is sponsored by Ezenwa Onyewuchi from Imo State. According to the proposal, regulations 122, 123, 124 and 127 amendment of regulation 122, 123, 124, and 127 will be expunged from the provisions of the Principal Act.

Similarly, regulation 122 which restricts female police officers assigned to the General Duties Branch of the NPF to telephone, clerical and office orderly duties will also be amended.

Specifically, regulation 123 prohibits women police from drilling under arms, while regulation 124 mandates female police officers to apply for permission to marry, while the intending fiancé is also investigated for criminal records. It further stipulates that a police woman who is single at the time of her enlistment must spend three years in service before applying for permission to marry.

Regulation 127 of the existing Act prescribes discriminatory treatment of an unmarried police officer who becomes pregnant.

If the amendments scale through and are passed into law in the ongoing Constitution Amendment, some of the perceived discriminatory provisions in the existing Police Act will be expunged.

Sponsor of the Bill further explained: “An analysis of the Police Act and other regulatory/policy documents governing the internal and external workings of the Nigeria Police Force reveals a preponderance of discriminatory regulations and workplace practices that reinforce gender discrimination.

“The examination of gender issues covers various spheres of policy and practice ranging from language, recruitment, training and posting; to marriage, pregnancy and child bearing.

“Many of the Police regulations particularly Regulations 122, 123, 124 and 127 are overtly discriminatory to female officers.”

According to Onyewuchi, such regulations of the Police Act were enacted in 1968 “at a time the societal attitude to women in the workplace was very different from what it is today. There is no rational justification for the imposition of these discriminatory provisions, since they do not in any manner promote the efficiency or discipline of the female police officer. Women occupy very senior roles in the Police and have shown themselves to be just as competent and disciplined as their male counterparts. Since a male police officer is not subjected to the same inhibitions, the current regulations are inconsistent with section 42 of the Constitution and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex.”

(Daily Sun)

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