By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN
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.