Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 15 March 2016 | 3,104 times
The Nigerian Senate today voted against the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, which seeks to guaranteed women’s freedom of movement, female economic activity and girls’ access to education. Senators decided against its second reading when it was put to vote during plenary.
Senator Biodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, while leading the debate on the hopes and plans of the bill, said out that the proposed bill seeks to promote equality, development and advancement of all persons in Nigeria. Olujimi explained that the bill was not against only gender discrimination in political and public life as well as prohibitions of violence against women, but would also seek the adoption of special temporary measures to eliminate discrimination and ensure equal opportunities for majority of Nigerians.
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, supported the bill, saying that 70% of Nigerian lawyers are women and that there is also a large percentage of female judges in the country. He added that “all Senators should also see reasons behind this bill and support it in the interest of Nigerian women.”
Also rising to speak in support of the bill, Senator Bala Na’Allah, representing Kebbi South Senatorial District, said that “discrimination is a worldwide issue and the need for adequate measures to protect the widowhood and inheritance rights of women.”
Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, also spoke in favour of the bill, saying that issues regarding widowhood, inheritance and divorce rights have to be sorted out, adding that the challenge is the combination of tradition and new religious beliefs. “These things are really affecting us,” Ndume further stated.
The arguments did not, however, appeal to the majority of the Senators, who voted against the bill and killed it.
•Photo shows the Senate in session.
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