#BreakTheConstitutionBias: Nigerian Women Protest Rejection of Gender Equality Bills by Legislature

Today, March 2, 2022, Nigerian women took to the National Assembly to protest against the non-passage of of some gender-quality Bills by the legislature as part of the amendment of the 1999 constitution.

A statement by Women in Nigeria, a coalition of women-focused NGOs in the country, stated that: “Nigerian women are disappointed and aggrieved at the actions of the 9th National Assembly (NASS) Tuesday March 1, 2022 when they denied women the opportunity of inclusion and representation in governance by voting against the gender bills. The NASS has spoken loud and clear that they do not want progress for society: for mothers, aunties, sisters, wives, and for daughters.”

The proposed bills which were not passed include:

  1. Granting citizenship to a foreign-born husband of a Nigerian woman. (Nigerian constitution allows Nigerian men’s foreign-born wives to be granted citizenship).
  2. Granting Nigerian women indigeneship of their husband’s state of origin after 5 years of marriage.
  3. Granting 35% appointed positions for women in cabinets. (The bill granting 20% for women was passed).
  4. Granting women affirmative action in party administration and leadership.
  5. Granting specific seats for women in the National Assembly

“It is particularly sad that in a month globally dedicated to celebrating women worldwide, our NASS has chosen to deny women basic human rights particularly, the right to identity and belonging. The proposed gender bills in the 5th Constitution Alteration Bills that were all rejected are Bills targeted at addressing the current gender imbalance across the legislative arm of governments across the country whilst reducing the under-representation of women in political office,” the statement continued.

The statement concluded: “Nigerian women therefore demand that all gender Bills be reconsidered. Ultimately, our demands will benefit not just women but Nigeria as a whole. More women in governance will only bring progress, and respect for Nigeria in the committee of nations. We cannot, in 2022, be negotiating the rights of women and the sanctity of the dignity of girls. We call on the National Assembly to represent these Bills as a matter of urgency and ensure that they are passed.”

Photo Credit: Twitter/@chiomachuka

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