A Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti has struck out a suit by the Ekiti State Government against the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) over the dismissal of a pregnant officer.
According to the suit instituted by the Attorney-General of Ekiti, Wale Fapounda, the state faulted the officer’s dismissal, saying such amounts to abuse of court processes.
Fapounda also demanded an order of the court to nullify Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulations, which provides for the discharge from the Police Force female officers who become pregnant while married unofficially.
But in his ruling on Thursday, Justice Babs Kuewumi held that ”this suit can not validly co-exist with the suit at the National Industrial Court, sitting in Akure in Ondo State with suit number: NICN/AK/14/2021. The Originating Summons of this suit is hereby dismissed.”
The development comes after the judge earlier ruled in favour of the plaintiff the reliefs bordering on “locus standi”, whether the court has jurisdiction and whether the appropriate parties have been joined in the suit.
NAN reports that Fapounda, acting in the public interest had approached the court seeking the interpretation of the constitutionality of Section 127 of the Police Service Regulation Act, 2001.
The state Attorney-General had also told the court that the dismissal of the policewoman, an indigene of Ekiti because she got pregnant before being legally married violates her fundamental right as entrenched in the Constitution of Nigeria,1999( as amended).
Fapounda, therefore, sought the interpretation of Section 127 Police Regulation.
During the hearing of the case, however, Falade, counsel for the respondents, opposed the plaintiff’s prayers, saying a similar suit had been instituted at the National Industrial Court, Akure.
Addressing journalists after the judgement, Fapounda said he had sought from the court, a copy of the judgment to know the next line of action.
He expressed delight in the court pronouncement on the reliefs that he has the “locus standi” to institute suit that will be of public interest, especially for the indigents, saying policewomen should be treated the same way with their male counterparts.