A Federal High Court in Abuja has thrown out a suit seeking to nullify a section of the Nigeria Police Force Regulations (NPFR) which forbids unmarried police officers from getting pregnant.
The suit, filed by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), challenged the legality of regulation 127 of the NPFR that says, “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”.
NBA had argued that the said provision contradicts the 1999 constitution and is discriminatory to unmarried female police officers, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
However, in his ruling on Monday, February 21, Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that there was nothing discriminatory or unlawful about the provisions in Regulations 126 and 127 of the NPR.
According to him, “I find that the regulation in issue in this case is about conduct and nothing more. I find no compelling reason for this court to disrupt the discipline of the force or interfere in the regulation of conduct of officers of the Nigeria Police Force whether male or female.
Any person, who joins the force must abide by the regulation of the force or not join the force, as there is no compulsion about its membership. In my opinion, the essence of this suit is to use the provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to lower the moral and professional standard of the NPF and this court will not give its imprimatur to such venture.
The argument that the provision is discriminatory because it does not apply to male officers, in my opinion, goes beyond the bounds of reasonableness and tilts seriously towards the absurd. The provision is aimed at the person who is capable of becoming pregnant while unmarried and not otherwise.”