Senators has described as discriminatory and obnoxious a unified service rule which provides that female officers recruited into all military, Nigeria Police Force and para-military organisations must stay unmarried for two years after which she has to apply for express permission to marry.
The provision is contained in Section 1(d) of the Official Gazette of No 15, Vol. 90 of March 2003. In a separate resolution, the Senate approved five presidential nominees for appointment as members of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC). They are: Mrs. Ngozi Agatha Etolue from Anambra State (representing Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu); Hon Hope Odhuluma Ikiriko from Rivers state (representing Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta); Prof. Aminu Diyo Sheidu from Kogi State (representing Kogi, Kwara); Mr. Emmanuel Chimezie Ihedioha from Abia (representing Imo, Abia) and Mr. Joseph Olufemi Akande from Osun (representing Osun, Oyo).
The lawmakers insisted that the rule (Section 1(d) of the Official Gazette of No 15) was in conflict with Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which prohibits discrimination on the ground of age, religion, political opinion, ethnicity or sex. The Senate however rejected a bid to repeal the offensive section from the constitution.
These were fallouts of the Senate consideration and adoption of a report of the its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions in respect of a petition from Mrs Inimfon Chris on the discrimination against female gender in the recruitment exercise into the Federal Service, specifically the Nigerian Custom Service. Inimfon according to the Committee’s chairman, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, was sacked from the Customs following fraudulent breach of the contentious rule.
The report’s findings/observations read: “It was observed that the petitioner is not actually fighting for re-instatement into Nigeria Custom Service but for the generality of female gender that are being discriminated against under the provision of the federal government of Nigeria Official Gazette No 15, Vol. 90 Section 1 (d) which deals with appointment of female officers into Nigeria Custom Service.
This is a provision of a general application as claimed by the representative of Nigeria Custom Service and cannot be exempted for a particular person, unless the provision is generally expunged or reversed by the relevant authority for general application as the case may be in all unified service.”