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Senate Throws Out Gender Equal Opportunity Bill

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A bill seeking equal right for men and women in Federal Republic of Nigeria failed to scale through second reading in Senate.

This would be the third time the bill has been rejected by the Federal lawmakers.

This bill is titled a bill for an act to incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the United National Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the protocol of the African Charter on Human and people’s rights on the rights of women in Africa, and other connected matters therewith 2016.

 The bill seeks to deplete all forms of violence against women including sexual abuse and discrimination.

Leading debate, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Biodun Olujimi representing Ekiti south senatorial district and the deputy minority whip said that women should have equal rights in marriages. 

Urging the lawmakers to expedite action on the bill, she said that discrimination amongst women in education, employment, and against any person and any ground whatsoever should be eliminated

Making contributions to a bill on gender quality, Ndume said the bill is most important especially when there is clear conflict dealing with widows, inheritance, divorce, even marriage.

He said when Nigerians get married in both the traditional culture and religious culture there is usually a conflict of beliefs that has to be faced by the couples.

“There are various traditions. The problem we have is the combination of our traditions and new religious beliefs. 

“In African content new is in the sense of Christianity. You will find an Igbo man who cannot speak Igbo language because he studied abroad, he will do traditional marriage then go to church again to get married in the church. 

“The church wedding says if you marry, the couple become one while the Igbo tradition says when you marry a wife, she becomes your property, so when issues come up after the marriage, you now wonder which one to take. 

Senators who spoke in support of the bill apart from Senate leader were Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Ibn Na’allah, Senator Ibrahim Gobir.

But, when Bukola Saraki, the Senate President put the questions on whether the bill should be passed for second hearing, there was a loud nay from the Senators.

According Olujimi, the bill prohibits all forms of violence against women in private and public places.

“It provides that all appropriate measure be taken to eliminate discriminate against women in the political and public life, eliminate discrimination against women in education, eliminate discrimination against women in employment, occupation or any profession, prevent discrimination against women on the grounds of marriage, marital status, or maternity, eliminating discrimination against any person on any ground whatsoever, in the field of health care and more importantly, ensure that all women who are pregnant and within two years of delivery, and all children under the age of 12, are given free and quality health care services, including provision of all necessary medical, surgical, diagnostic, and pharmacological supplies.”

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