By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigeria marks 2022 International Women’s Day, IWD, along with other countries, Actionaid Nigeria, AAN, Tuesday, called on National Assembly to reconsider the five proposed Gender Bills in the 5th Constitution Alteration Bills that were rejected on March 1, 2022.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, expressed sadness of rejecting the bills following the impact women had made in national development.
Obi said: “In line with this year’s theme ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’, we had looked forward to really celebrating International Women’s Day 2022 because we thought it would mark a turnaround for Nigerian woman in politics, and a historic win in the struggle for women inclusion in decision making spaces, as the 2023 general elections draw closer.
“Sadly, the decision of the 9th National Assembly has threatened the achievement of adequate women representation in governance, as they have outrightly demonstrated by their votes, that they do not want women inclusion in decision making. If, in 2022, we still have to argue for or against the pivotal role of women in governance, it means our leaders are deliberately resistant to change and still have a lot of learning to do.
“We, therefore, urge the leadership of the National Assembly of Nigeria to have the Gender Bills re-presented and re-considered.
“This is the only way to address the current gender imbalance across the legislative arms of governments and across the country.”
According to her, Nigeria’s National Gender Policy states that gender equality and women’s empowerment are basic human rights that lie at the heart of equitable development and the country is a signatory to international and regional frameworks such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights with the Optional Protocol on Women’s Rights.
“Thus, Nigeria needs to live up to her commitment to 35 per cent Affirmative Action on women inclusion across all arms of governance.
“Upholding this will also increase the country’s credibility in the international community. An inclusive governance is only possible when women sit at the decision-making tables, contribute to planning and national development to find solutions to the many problems plaguing the nation such as climate change and insecurity.
“No nation can progress with over 50 per cent of its population excluded from contributing to its development. Failure to recognize this is simply planning to fail from the beginning”, she said.
However, she said ActionAid Nigeria salutes Nigerian women for the continued struggle.
“As women, we shall never be intimidated by any insensitive decision; this even makes women grow stronger in the fight for a just society. As we commemorate this day, let history have it that Nigerian women refused to stay quiet in the face of oppression and rights denial.
“This, once again, provides an opportunity to demonstrate oneness of voice. We salute the courage of women’s groups who swung into action since the rejection of the Bills, and we call on those yet to join to add their voices. We encourage the women to work and walk in solidarity, to keep the flag of womanhood flying, we are strengthened by the knowledge that this struggle is for posterity”, she added.