Nigeria: Women Begin 1 Week Protest Over National Assembly Rejection of Gender Bills

Women groups have protested at the gate of the National Assembly (NASS) over the rejection of all gender bills by the federal legislature.

According to them, the 9th Assembly had reinforced the discrimination and political bias against women as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

The women said by denying citizenship to a foreign-born husband of a Nigerian woman and allowing Nigerian men’s foreign-born wives to be awarded automatic citizenship, the National Assembly members had gone too far.

Speaking during the protest, the programme manager, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Yemisi Nathaniel, said Nigerian women were denied indigeneity through marriage.

“They denied us 35 percent appointed positions for women and settling for 20 percent. They denied women affirmative action in party administration and leadership. They denied us specific seats for women in the National Assembly.

“In a bid to ensure that the National Assembly represents these bills as a matter of urgency and ensure their passage; Nigerian women will continue to protest, staying at the gates of National Assembly throughout the week, to continue in a more formidable manner from today, 8th March, 2022 nationwide,” she said.

Yemisi said they are mobilising all professionals and market women to continue with the protest.

“We need urgent re-convening, reconsideration, and immediate passage of the five women/gender-related bills: Bills number 35, 36, 37, 38, and 68.

“The passing of the Gender and Equal Opportunities (GEOB) Bill, currently before the senate. Resuscitation and the passage of the Bill on Support for women participation in elective and appointive positions bill 2020 before the House of Representatives.

“Immediate domestication of the African Charters Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which Nigeria ratified in 2004. Immediate domestication of the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Nigeria ratified in 1985,” the women said through a letter addressed to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The women who said they will vote out men that voted against their bills in the National Assembly, said the lawmakers must show them their voting pattern.

“Women urge our States and National Assembly, to respond in courage and stand with Nigerian women to reject the denial of gender bills as an ill-advised attack on truth, justice, equity and democracy.

While calling to question the vote pattern of National Assembly members, we want to know how they voted, who voted for or against, who abstained from voting and from plenary. It is our right to hold representatives accountable or otherwise.

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