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Is The Nigerian Police Act Gender Bias?

Photo Credit: The Eagle Online 3 mins read

CLAIMS:
1)A female police officer needs to seek permission of the Commissioner of the police in the state where she is serving if she wants to get married;
2)That a female Police Commissioner is not allowed to take in till after two years of the official confirmation as an officer;
3)A single female police officer that gets pregnant will be discharged from the force;
4)A married woman cannot be enlisted as a female policewoman in Nigeria.

MOSTLY TRUE: The real question is, what is going to be done about this? The virality of this particular issue is clearly evident and as to whether it will elicit a response from the government or its agencies is yet to be seen.

FULL TEXT

What started out over two weeks ago on a few threads, has gone viral across several chat platforms. Yes, several Whatsapp and Facebook chats have been circulating this message informing the public on the stringent rules and regulations made available to female police officers. The consensus is that these regulations do not reflect gender balance. 

The message sparked discourse across various circles in which it was shared. This was not only consequent on its controversial nature, but also as a result of the age of enlightenment and female empowerment in which we now live in. It is against the backdrop of this intellectual drama and equality discourse, The Nation and Dubawa have decided to do a fact check on some of the claims.

VERIFICATION

Efforts to reach out to the Police Force- Public Relation Officer (FPRO), Frank Mba went unanswered.  Text messages and Whatsapp messages were sent to him as his numbers were repeatedly unavailable. After a few days, he replied saying , “I will check and get back to you.” But as at the time of writing this report, he has yet to reply to the messages. 

The next logical step in the research led to the Police Act and Regulations Cap P19, L.F.N, 2004 (the Act), Part V (5) titled ‘Enlistment , rank and file’

Claim 1- TRUE: A female police officer needs to seek permission of the Commissioner of the police in the state where she is serving if she wants to get married .

This particular claim has already attained viral coverage, BBC inclusive. However, we referred to Part 5- Sub-section 124 of the Act, titled “Women police to apply for permission to marry”. It showed the claim is in fact true.

Claim 2- FALSE: A female Police Commissioner is not allowed to take in till after two years of the official confirmation as an officer.

This particular claim was not found present in any publicly accessible legislation or acts.  However, section 125 of the Act (as seen in the green highlight in the image above) provides some insight. No “special privileges” is somewhat vague and is subject to various interpretations. Nonetheless, taking it literally means no disparity exists between married and unmarried women in the Nigerian Police Force.

Claim 3- TRUE: A single female police officer that gets pregnant will be discharged from the force.

We referred to subsection 127 of The Nigeria Police Regulations Part V. The section titled Pregnancy  of unmarried women police (as seen in the purple highlight in the image above) confirms the veracity of the claim.

Claim 4- TRUE: A married woman cannot be enlisted as a female policewoman in Nigeria.

We also referred to the Act. Specifically, Nigeria Police Regulations 1 Part  V Sub-section 118. Several platforms like Daily Trust amongst others covered this claim. It was emphasized in italics as seen in the screenshot below:

CONCLUSION

Most of the claims are true. But the real question is, what is going to be done about this? The virality of this particular issue is clearly evident and as to whether it will elicit a response from the government or its agencies is yet to be seen.


This fact-check was done by a Dubawa Fact-checking Fellow in collaboration with The Nation, the second-most-read newspaper in Nigeria according to a 2011 report by The Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria. To see this article and others, click here.

Justina Asishana is the Niger state correspondent for The Nation Newspaper, Nigeria's foremost nationwide daily and online newspaper. Justina has previously worked at the New Nigerian newspaper and Daily Newswatch newspaper as the Niger state correspondent. She is an upcoming data and investigative journalist who has just discovered how to use data and data related tools for better reporting. She has done some investigative reporting for her media organization, The Nation Newspaper, the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), and the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ). She covers all sectors as a state correspondent. She was recently inducted as a Dubawa Fellow which is a fact checking fellowship to combat misinformation in the state and nation; she is the 2019 ONE Champion in Niger state and was the ICFJ 2018 Safety Fellow. Ms Justina is not afraid to explore new subjects and topics as she is always open and ready to learn new things in the field of journalism. She loves to read, write, explore the internet, travel, network, experiment with data tools and advocate for the rights of the people.

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