Human rights lawyer and member of the Lagos EndSARS panel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN has described the new dress code which was approved yesterday by the Inspector General of police, Usman Baba Alkali as illegal.
The new dress code according to a statement made by the Force spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi was approved in line with international best practices.
Olumuyiwa in the statement noted that the adoption is designed to guarantee inclusion, gender mainstreaming, ethnic and religious diversity in the work place which will guarantee optimum output and professionalism.
Reacting to the new policy, Adegboruwa in a statement he personally signed said that the religion of public officers, including members of the security agencies, should be a private matter to them.
He further argued that the police chief is not competent to use the platform of his office to enforce religion in a government institution, urging him to immediately reverse the policy.
Adegboruwa however urged the police chief to tackle other important issues that are dragging the Nigerian police force down instead of wasting time in chasing irrelevant shadows.
The statement read, “On March 4, 2022, the Inspector-General of Police purported to unveil a new dress code for the Nigeria Police Force, especially female officers, who are to be allowed to wear coverings or hijab, etc.
“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.
“Section 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates that 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 police women 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.
“The police should focus on combating crime, improve citizens engagement and help guaranty safety of lives and property. The religious preferences of policemen and women should be their private matters.”