From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Women under the auspices of WOMENIFESTO are planning to occupy the National Assembly (NASS), again, to force its leadership to reverse the “wrong done to women” on March 1, 2022 by rejecting five gender bills.
Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, made the disclosure as Nigeria joined the global community to flag off activities of a 16-day of Activism against Gender-Based Violence to commemorate 2022 with the theme: “Unite! Activism to end Violence Against Women and Girls.”
“We occupied National Assembly we have not conquered but we can occupy again,” she said.
The five rejected gender bills are: The indigeneship bill; to allow women who are married to an indigene of a state, different from her state of origin to stand for elections in her husband state. The citizenship bill; to allow women in Nigeria to confer citizenship rights to their foreign spouses in the same way that men are able to do. The additional seats for women bill; to create 111 additional seats for women in the House of Representatives and Senate. The affirmative action for women in political party administration bill; to allow a minimum of 35 per cent representation of women in party administrative positions. And the affirmative action in the appointment of ministers and commissioners bill; to allow for a minimum of 10 per cent representation of women ministerial appointments and as commissioners.
Obi, thanked the women and international organisations for their support during the first occupy NASS, led by the Co-convener, Womenifesto, Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi,
On March 8, 2022, House of Representatives took a historic step to rescind three of the gender bills which were voted down on March 1, 2022 when 68 bills were considered for constitutional alteration.
On March 22, 2022, a delegation from the House of Representatives, led by the Majority Leader,
Alhassan Ado Doguwa had met with over 2,000 women and made the commitment that the House of Representatives will re-present the three gender bills popularly known as “women and vulnerable person bills’ for votes within seven legislative days. The seven legislative days elapsed on April 11 but the decision of the House of Representatives is yet to be known.
ActionAid Country representative, while thanking the different women groups, international organisations as well as the European Union and the Canadian Embassy for providing support to the women during the occupy NASS, said this time around it will be better planned to yield the expected result.
She also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfilled his August 28, 2018 promise that if he won a second term in 2019, he would give 40 per cent representation to Nigerian women.
She also spoke on National Bureau of Statistics latest data that 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor.
Obi said: “They have just rolled out statistics that 133 million Nigerians are leaving below the poverty line, that is the statistics as at February 2022. You remember that the World Bank pulled out a data that says 95.1 million Nigerians would be poor in 2022 but with this data of 133 million, you can now see that between February to now before the flood went out, we had 31 states under the water, you can only imagine what is happening to women. When you are in the flood, women are still living their lives.
“You say ‘no woman no naija’ even when you say global population has reached an estimated eight billion, it means women pushed out eight billion children, is either they pushed them out or they went under the knife just for humanity.”