BY NNAMDI OJEIGO
FORMER Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili and human rights activist, Dr. Joe Odumakin among notable Nigerians have demanded the removal of Section 29 (4) (b) of the 1999 Constitution as originally proposed by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.
They made the demand in Lagos, at a one-day stakeholders meeting on the 1999 Constitution Amendment as it relates to women and girl child’s right at the instance of Women Arise for Change Initiative.
In a communique read by Dr. Ezekwesili on behalf of the stakeholders, the meeting called on State Houses of Assembly that were yet to domesticate the Child Rights Acts to do so without further delay.
The stakeholders also called on women organisations, all supportive Civil Society organisations, community based and social organisations to form a broad coalition to continually monitor the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly to ensure the deletion of the said section to protect the rights of the girl-child and that of women.
The communique read: “That we unequivocally demand the deletion of section 29 (4) (b) of the 1999 Constitution as originally proposed by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review;
“That State Houses of Assembly that are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Acts should do so immediately;
“That the Violence Against Persons Bill pending before the National Assembly and the Gender Equal Opportunity bill before the State Houses of Assembly should be passed without further delay;
“That all known violators of the Child Rights Act and Laws in all the states of the federation must be prosecuted to serve as deterrence to others.”
Earlier in her speech, chairman of Women Arise, Dr. Odumakin said the meeting was called “to mobilize existing popular opinion against the actions of those that were bent in using the platform of the Senate to advance the cause of violation of the girl-child rights.”
According to her, “the objective is to discuss in an open and frank manner and come up with far reaching measures to stop the violation of the rights of the girl-child and by extension, the rights of women.”