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Gender equality bill will be re-presented – Saraki

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki


Simon Ejembi

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said that the gender equality bill, which was thrown out by the Senate on Tuesday will be reintroduced to the Senate after being redrafted.

The bill, which was sponsored by the Senate Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South), seeks to empower women politically and economically, as well as grant them  equal opportunities with men in diverse human endeavours.

But it was rejected after Senators argued that most of its provisions were in conflict with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, the same reason given by lawmakers in the Seventh Senate, when similar bill was also rejected.

However, Saraki, who said he met with Olujimi in the morning today to discuss the bill, noted that the bill could still be passed after modifications.

“I have it on good authority that Senator Biodun Olujimi who introduced this bill will reintroduce it after re-drafting it to address some of the reservations that were expressed on the floor of the Senate,” Saraki was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Gender, Ms. Fatima Kakuri.

In the statement, which was posted on his Facebook page, Saraki said some parts of the bill that were crucial to the development of the nation.

He, however, explained that the bill was rejected because of some provisions.

He said, “As I said during the International Womens Day last week, I am of the opinion that there are substantial parts of the bill that are crucial to the development of our nation such as the equal access to education, strengthening of the laws on violence against women, ending abduction of girls, sustenance and promotion of entrepreneurship opportunities, gender mainstreaming and gender equality, female participation in governance, among others.

“Unfortunately, the bill suffered a slight set back because there were some parts of the Bill that some Senators disagreed with along the lines of religion and tradition. The beauty of democracy is that it gives us the opportunity to consider different opinions and this bill can still be represented and reconsidered on the floor of the Senate.”

The bill was entitled, “A bill for an Act to Incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the United Nations 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 matters connected therewith, 2016 (SB. 116).”

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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