Women senators, Reps seek Executive Bill on 35 per cent affirmative action

Church Blog

By Sanni Onogu, Abuja

Seven women senators and 11 of their counterparts in the House of Representatives have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to propose an Executive Bill to legalise 35 per cent affirmative action for women in government.

They decried repeated frustrations from their male counterparts in both chambers whenever issues affecting women were brought up for consideration during constitution amendment exercises.

The women lawmakers spoke on Wednesday at the opening of a two-day training and advocacy workshop for Federal and state women lawmakers on Gender Responsive Legislation in Nigeria” in Abuja.

The capacity building programme was jointly organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and the United Nations (UN) Women.

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NILDS Director-General, Professor Sulaiman Abubakar, stated that women constitute only 11.2 per cent of the membership of both chambers of the National Assembly.

He regretted that women often constitute majority of the victims of various forms of violence in the country.

Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central), who led the advocacy, urged President Buhari to send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to legalise the implementation of 35 per cent elective and appointive positions for women in the country.

She said: “We have been talking and this is not working. The President needs to send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly. That is the only way we can make progress. Men will not freely give us our right place.”

House of Representatives Deputy Chief Whip Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who represented Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, said everything must be done to guarantee increased participation of women in politics in the country.

Chairman of the House Committee on Northeast Development Commission, Khadijat Bukar Abba Ibrahim, and other women lawmakers spoke of an urgent need to pass a law that would guarantee increased spaces for women in politics.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by Deputy Chief Whip Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said women’s capacity must be developed to guarantee their place in positions of authority.