Nigerian women under the auspices of the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) have charged the incoming National Assembly to pass the five gender bills that were rejected by the 9th National Assembly during the Constitutional review in 2022.
The women made the demands during a one-day knowledge building roundtable for media chiefs organized by WARDC in collaboration with Women Radio 91.7 and International Press Centre (IPC) with support of USAID through Palladium SCALE project.
The women reiterated the need for the 10th Assembly to pass the 5 Gender Bills, in demonstration of its commitment to advancing gender equality in Nigeria.
The five gender bills are: 111 special seats for women at national assembly to address the low representation of women; affirmative action for women in political party administration to enable participation and voice; a bill sought to grant citizenship to foreign -born husbands of a Nigerian woman; at least 10% affirmative action to ministerial appointment positions; and indigeneship rights to women to avoid the discrimination and violence women suffer in a bid to participate effectively in the society.
Prof Joy Ezeilo, the Emeritus Dean of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, while presenting her keynote address shared that the passage of the proposed gender bills would help to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and promote gender equality.
Prof Ezeilo charged the incoming legislatures to pass the bills, stressing that the constitution of any nation is a foundational instrument for achieving gender equality, and it would be contradicting if the Nigeria’s constitution does not make provision for the rights of women.
Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, the Chief Executive Officer of Women Radio 91.7 explained that the 9th Assembly has done a great disservice to Nigerian women not just by rejecting the gender bills but because they rejected women.
Okewale-Sonaiya charged the 10th assembly to start listening to the demands of the women and pass the gender bills.
She also appealed to media professionals to amplify the demands of the Nigerian women, till the required result is achieved.
Dr. Abiola Afolabi-Akiode, the Executive Director of WARDC, who said it is expected that the outgoing administration of President Muhammdu Buhari would show commitment to the promotion of women’s rights, harped on the need for the incoming administration to honour women’s demand for inclusive constitutional reform.
Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of IPC also charged the media to put women issues at the fore, with the aim of getting adequate attention from relevant stakeholders.