…says Reps read to concur with Senate on sexual harassment Bill
…hints NASS going on annual vacation; returns in September
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has that the parliament would provide funds for the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the 2021 budget to be presented to the National Assembly in September.
Gbajabiamila made the disclosure in response to a request by the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Nigeria, Ulla Elisabeth Mueller, who led a delegation of United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) Spotlight Initiative on a courtesy call in his office in Abuja on Wednesday.
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Gbajabiamila who gave hints of annual vacation for the National Assembly soon also assured the delegation that the House would work on the Sexual Harassment Bill forwarded to it by the Senate as soon as members return from the break.
He said: “You talked about the Senate Bill, though we’re going on a long vacation, I can assure you that as soon as we come back, the House will work on the bill”.
The Speaker noted that after due diligence, the Green Chamber will “speedily concur with the Senate”.
“On the issue of funding, like I said, it’s like a pandemic. There’s no way you can confront a pandemic without funding. The budget is coming in September, and once it comes, we’ll make sure adequate funding is provided for this issue.
“On the issue of domestication of the VAPP 2015 and the Child’s Rights Act, my office has done a lot. We had a conference with the Speakers of the State Assemblies. The Chairman of the Conference of Speakers promised that they would domesticate it in Bauchi, and I’m glad to say that it has been done.
“We’ll continue to engage with others to see that they domesticate the laws. This is something we’re championing, and we’ll continue to do that. For us in the House of Representatives, we’re giving this issue all the seriousness it deserves”, he said.
Gbajabiamila said the issue of gender was prominently featured in the Legislative Agenda of the House, a new version of which would be launched on Saturday.
The Speaker commended members of the delegation for the work they have been doing, saying he hoped there would be a sustained partnership between them and the House to end gender-based violence in Nigeria.
Earlier in her remark, the leader of the delegation, Mueller, said everybody has the responsibility to say no to gender-based violence taking place in Nigeria and work toward ending same.
She said they would advocate for a budget line to be committed to the fight against gender-based violence, noting that the House should also ensure that the funds are released accordingly when appropriated.
As part of their work, she said they were working on a concept to organise engagements with different stakeholders including Speakers of State Assemblies.
While commending the Senate for passing the Sexual Harassment Bill, she called on the House to concur so that it will be assented to by the president.