Senate Rejects Bill On Gender Equality


BEVERLY HILLS, March 15, (THEWILL) – The Nigerian Senate has rejected a bill designed to empower women politically and economically, grant women the same marital rights as their husbands and promote equality, development and advancement of all persons in Nigeria.

The bill proposed by Senate Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, advocated “for an Act to incorporate and enforce certain provision 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.”

The proposal, which was scheduled to pass second reading, initially received the support of some senators but suddenly suffered a setback and finally died on the floor of the Chamber when put to a voice vote as it was voted out by the majority of the senators.

Those who opposed the bill argued that most of its provisions were in conflict with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, especially, provisions of the Sharia Court of Appeal which is part of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The United Nations' The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international bill of rights for women adopted generally as far back as 1979.

Among other things, the bill is meant to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women; to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

A similar bill was presented at the seventh senate by Chris Anyanwu, a former senator from Imo east, but it was rejected as well.

Story by David Oputah