Posted by News Express | 19 April 2016 | 2,878 times
The pro-democracy non-governmental organisation (NGO), Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has described the rejection by senators of the Nigerian version of the proposed gender equality legislation on nebulous religious ground as one scandal too many in the current democratic dispensation, and demanded a reversal of the draconian decision.
In a statement endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the pro-democracy NGO said the decision to reject the gender equality bill by the senators, most of whom have their children and family members schooling and residing abroad in Western civilised societies, is unwise and irrational.
“This unmitigated scandal has shown majority of the senators for what they truly are – unrepentant dubious male chauvinists and persons who don’t wish that Nigeria should assume her rightful place as a civilised member of the global community. We as a country that is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and a signatory of major human rights and equality conventions, treaties and international laws has depicted our political leadership as backward, with this bogus and unsustainable reasons offered at the hallowed chamber of the National Assembly, by elected representatives, for turning down a good bill that if transformed into an enforceable law is capable of catapulting Nigeria to the respectable height as a human rights compliant political entity.”
HURIWA said without equivocation that the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must and should be absolutely condemned for rejecting a proposed bill aimed at eliminating “all forms of discrimination” against women.
Noting that the dubious religious cum traditional ideologies under which the senators were hiding to turn down this gender equality bill were primitive and retrogressive, the group debunked the mistaken notion that the bill will turn Nigerian women to persons of easy virtue, recalling that the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill was thrown out penultimate Tuesday after some lawmakers voiced their opposition purely for arcane religious reasons.
HURIWA, which said the bill would promote women’s equality in marriage, inheritance and education, called on Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is said to hold a British passport, to impress it on his counterparts to stop making Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of civilised and humane societies by reintroducing the bill urgently.
Besides, HURIWA argued that over 25 per cent of members of federal legislative chambers in Abuja, and the political elite are holders of European and American passports. It therefore wondered why these same persons are supporting backwardness and primitivism.
Senators who opposed the equality bill said it was not compatible with Nigerian culture and religious beliefs, but the rights group opined that even in the Nigerian cultural history, women of distinction such as Queen Amina played tremendous role towards the advancement of civilisation at some historical periods in Nigeria.
•Photo shows Comrade Onwubiko.
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