ABUJA, April 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Footage of a senior commander of Nigeria’s road safety organisation disciplining several female employees by cutting off their long hair in public has sparked outrage online.
Andrew Kumapayi, regional commander for the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) in Nigeria’s southern Rivers State, was filmed and photographed cutting the women’s hair at an inspection parade in the city of Port Harcourt this week.
The photos were published in a post on the official FRSC Facebook page which said Kumapayi was carrying out a ‘hair, uniform and fingernails inspection’ of the employees.
While the post has been deleted, photos of the incident have been widely shared and criticised by Nigerians on social media.
Lauretta Onochie, an aide to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said on Twitter that the haircuts were a “humiliation of women taken too far”.
“No man has a right to take a pair of scissors and cut a woman’s hair,” read a Twitter post by Juliet Kego.
“Even if she disobeys the standing order, you can’t cut her hair ... Nigeria is not a jungle,” said a post by Jude Ezechuks.
The FRSC has recalled Kumapayai and other officers involved in the incident, and is set to launch an investigation into the matter, according to local newspaper reports in Nigeria.
Neither the FRSC nor Kumapayi could be reached for comment.
An official guide for FRSC staff at parades says that female employees must have a hairstyle 'that can be tucked into their beret' but does not ban long hair. Male staff are expected to have 'low cut hair' and be clean shaven. (Writing By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)