A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has faulted the approval of a new dress code allowing female officers in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to wear hijab.
The new dress code also allows female officers to wear stud earrings while in uniform.
Adegboruwa, however, described the development as “illegal and ultra vires,” stressing that section 10 of the 1999 constitution stipulates neutrality of government agencies in religious matters.
The human rights lawyer added that the religious preferences of police officers should be their “private matter”.
“The religion of public officers, including members of the security agencies, should be a private matter to them. The inspector-general of police is not competent to use the platform of his office to enforce religion,” Adegboruwa said in a statement issued on Saturday.
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“Section 10 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates that the government and all its agencies should be neutral in religious matters.
“Section 42 of the same constitution prohibits discrimination in all its ramifications. In this regard, there will be no end to confusion attending the new dress code prescribed by the IGP.
“What will be the official uniform for policewomen who are in the Catholic church? How should policemen and women who are in the Celestial church dress up when the practice of their church is against wearing shoes at all?
“And how should traditionalists who are in the police force dress up, with charms and amulets round their uniforms?
“The Nigeria police has existed as an institution since 1945 and it is strange that of all the issues confronting that agency, such as low morale, poor welfare, poor infrastructure, poor training, poor welfare, etc, religious adornment should be the priority of the inspector-general of police.”