Friday, January 13, 2023

Sacking of unmarried pregnant police officers scrapped in Nigeria

A rule banning unmarried Nigerian police officers from getting pregnant and ensured their sacking if they did, has been scrapped.

In a landmark case, a judge ruled the regulation was discriminatory as it did not apply to male officers who got co-workers pregnant.

The case was brought by a corporal who was sacked in 2021 after getting pregnant.

The woman was awarded 5m naira (£9,100) in compensation.

The ex-officer - who is named in Nigerian media as Omolola Olajide - challenged her dismissal on grounds of discrimination since her male counterparts are not dismissed in similar circumstances.

Although Ms Olajide was compensated for the violation of her fundamental right to freedom from discrimination, she will not get her job back as she was on probation at the time of her dismissal.

In a ruling in the south-western city of Akure, Justice Dashe Damulak said the regulation was "discriminatory, illegal, null and void" and struck it out.

The judge ruled that the regulation "violates sections of the Nigerian constitution as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act, which abolished discrimination on basis of gender".

Nigerian police have not yet responded to the ruling, but experts believe it could have far-reaching consequences for other organisations which have similar regulations.

By Alex Binley, BBC

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