NASS should reconsider their stance on Gender Bill, Nigerian women

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The 9th National Assembly has continued to receive a barrage of criticisms from women’s rights groups, following their rejection of the Gender Bill on Tuesday.

Joining in the bashing, the ‘Women Of Nigeria’ in a statement they undersigned and issued in Abuja, coined the hashtags, #BreakThePoliticalBias and #BreakTheConstitutionBias, to vent their disappointment, and call out the lawmakers for rejecting the bill.

They alluded that lawmakers’ rejection has denied women the opportunity of inclusion and representation in governance, and barred the “progress for society, for mothers, aunties, sisters, wives, and for daughters.”

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The ‘Women Of Nigeria’ however urged the lawmakers to look at the benefits inherent in the Gender Bill, and reconsider it for passage.

Part of the statement read, “it is particularly sad that in a month globally dedicated to celebrating women worldwide, our NASS has chosen to deny women basic human rights. These are rights enjoyed by every Nigerian except women.

“The proposed gender bills in the 5th Constitution Alteration Bills that were all rejected are Bills targeted at addressing the current gender imbalance across the legislative arm of governments across the country whilst reducing the under-representation of women in political office.”

The ‘Women Of Nigeria’ again lamented that the lawmakers’ actions have reinforced the discrimination and political bias against women as enshrined in the 1999 constitution by, “denying citizenship to a foreign-born husband of a Nigerian woman. (While it allows Nigerian men’s foreign-born wives to be awarded automatic citizenship), denying Nigerian women indigeneity through marriage, denying 35% appointed positions for women and settling for 20% and denying specific seats for women in the National Assembly.

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“The men of the 9th NASS by their actions have taken us backwards. Their actions undermine the importance and relevance of women’s contribution to the governance of Nigeria including the key role women play to bring victory to political parties in elections at all levels across the country. They also voted against diaspora voting!

“Nigerian women, therefore, demand that all gender Bills be reconsidered. Ultimately, our demands will benefit not just women but Nigeria as a whole. More women in governance will only bring progress, and respect for Nigeria in the committee of nations.

“We cannot, in 2022, be negotiating the rights of women and the sanctity of the dignity of girls. We call on the National Assembly to re-present these Bills as a matter of urgency and ensure that they are passed.”

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