A bill seeking to expunge sections of the police act that are discriminatory to female officers has passed second reading at the senate.
The bill passed after Ezenwa Oyewuchi, senator representing Imo east and its sponsor, move a motion and led a debate on it.
Regulations 122,123,124 and 127 which the bill is seeking to expunge restrict female officers to desk duties, prevent them from drilling underarms, make them apply before they get married and discipline those of them who get pregnant.
While leading the debate on Thursday, Oyewuchi said a review of the law showed these regulations reinforce gender discrimination.
“This 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,” the legislator said.
“Essentially, this bill seeks to expunge the provisions of regulations 122, 123, 124, and 127 from the principal act
“The examination of gender issues covers various spheres of policy and practice ranging from language, recruitment, training and posting; to marriage, pregnancy and childbearing.
“Many of the police regulations, particularly regulations 122, 123,124 and 127 are overly discriminatory to female police officers.
“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.”
The senator said there is a need to expunge the regulations because they are not “justifiable in a democratic state like Nigeria which has domesticated the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights”.
Contributing to the debate, Smart Adeyemi, senator representing Kogi west, said women must not be seen as second class citizens.
“I find it difficult to comprehend that we have these provisions in the police act. I am sure they must be carryover of colonial masters provisions of the police,” he said.
On her part, Stella Oduah, senator representing Anambra north, said women could be relied upon to carry out duties efficiently.
“The fact that this bill is not coming from the police, I am very shocked,” Oduah said.
After it was passed, Senate President Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the police affairs committee asking it to report back in four weeks.