By Titilope Fadare
OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Tuesday passed for second reading a bill to address issues of discrimination against women in the Nigeria Police Force.
Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos) told the Senate how certain sections in the Police Act ranging from age to marriage of the police, discriminate against Nigerian women who have vision to impact their nation.
Tinubu said: “Disturbing is the enlistment requirement contained in police regulations, the regulations allow for enlistment of men who have attained age 17 but set enlistment age for women at age 19. We have been unable to find a reason for the variation in enlistment age for the different gender. Section 29 (4) of the constitution of Nigeria pegs the attainment of adulthood as 18.
“Thus, a law which allows for the enlistment to the nation’s police force is not only counterproductive, it is also against the principle of international law. This is very important because police force is allowed to carry arms. Should we acknowledge age 17 as the enlistment age, why does it discriminate against the woman by moving the goalpost for her? Is a 19 year old woman only equivalent for a man who is 17 years old? This position is discriminatory and pervades Section 42 of the constitution.
“However, the plight of a Nigerian woman seeking to join the police force, does not stop there, the Act further exempts Nigerian women who are married from enlistment; why is there such if there are no benefit distinguishing them from unmarried women?
“The Police Act goes further to say the women will only marry when they have served in the police for three years subject to the approval of the police commissioner. It should be noted that there is no commensurate provision requiring men to obtain approval to marry.
“As a nation, we would do well to not to discriminate women. Women are breaking boundaries, charting uncharted waters and dominating professions there were erstwhile male dominated. This bill is for women who have vision of impacting their society.”