IWD 2022: MAMA Centre condemns new legislative move to repeal gender-related Bills


The Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) commemorates the International Women’s Day 2022 themed “Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow”.

We on this Day reiterate our undoubted position that gender equality is an imperative for progress on socio-economic emancipation and development in societies across the world, hence, the need for adequate legislation and policy attention to addressing the huge differences in the types of inequality faced by Nigerian women across cultural representation, political inclusion, socio-economic capacity, education attainment, domestic burdens and marital spheres.

Just as we are seriously perturbed by the deliberately imposed marginalisation, stigmatisation and low visibility that impede adequate, efficient and effective participation of women, particularly in political leadership in Nigeria.

While we follow with keen interest, the recent development and surreptitious moves to shrinking inclusive space, we are displeased and express total discomfort with the renewed effort by the male-dominated National Assembly to obstruct and sabotage enabling legislative frameworks supporting inclusiveness and equal opportunities.

We condemn the recent selfish action of the House of Representatives Special Committee on Constitution Review for adopting a bill seeking to alter sections 48, 49,71,77,91, and 117 of the 1999 constitution by creating one senatorial seat and two federal constituencies in each state and FCT for women.

We observed from such ill-thought piece of legislation or amendments to repeal the existing but embattled Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill; Support for Women Participation in Elective and Appointive Positions Bill; and other gender-related Bills in the National Assembly as uncivilised, dictatorial and undemocratic development that must not be welcomed in our democratic process and history.

We find it disturbing that almost three decades after the Beijing Declaration, Nigeria still records a woeful women representation in political and elective positions, especially in the National Assembly where out of 109 members of Senate and 360 House of Representatives, only 29 are women, just 6 per cent of the total.

We recall that Nigeria joined the world to adopt the Beijing Platform for Action established in 1995, which calls for 35% Affirmative Action for women; and one of the promises of the President Muhammadu Buhari during his presidential campaign was to make his cabinet gender inclusive. He boldly told Nigerians that women will make up 35 percent of his cabinet as part of his commitment to take the country to the ‘Next Level’. In overall, only 16.3 percent of women are represented as against 35 percent the President promised.

We observed that these legislative barriers and policy inactions pave way for the existing glaring gender gaps in political structures and processes including low numbers of women in political party decision making structures; limited involvement of women in household, community and political spheres; unclear rules and procedures in recruitment and conduct of parties’ primaries.

We therefore, call for the immediate Domestication of the African Charters Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which Nigeria ratified in 2004 as well as domestication of the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Nigeria ratified in 1985.

We call for increasing priority for the passage and assent into the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill by the National Assembly to demonstrate the legislature’s concern for the rights of women to equal opportunities with guaranteed appropriate measures against gender discrimination in political and public life; as well as full implementation of the 35% Affirmative Action and existing gender policies that empower women politically, economically and socially.

We demand mandatory implementation of parties’ policies that enable equal participation and eliminate gender discrimination at all levels to encourage equal participation. Through this measure, political parties will facilitate and promote women’s participation in politics especially within party structures and throughout elections.

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