…plan to work against re-election bid of anti-women bill lawmakers

By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Abuja

A coalition of women’s groups protesting the rejection of 5 gender bills by the national assembly has said they would continue to occupy the main gate of the legislative complex until their demands were met.

Recall that the bills were voted down last Tuesday during the voting on 68 clauses in the constitution amendments.

The development however prompted a backlash from many women’s groups who besieged the national the next day.

Since then, the women have refused to leave the main gate of the complex, insisting the bills must be reconsidered.

However, on Tuesday, the House of Representatives rescinded its earlier resolution on the bills and reconsidered three.

They included the indigeneship, citizenship and 35 percent affirmative action on political party offices bills in addition to the 20 percent exclusive slots for ministerial and commissioner nominees earlier adopted last week.

Speaking during their Wednesday protest, the Country Director of Actionaid, Nigeria and Convener, Civil Societies Situation Room on Elections, Mrs. Ene Obi who led the coalition said the women will continue to occupy the national assembly gate until the Senate also rescinded its decision on the bills.

According to her, the women were looking for the list of the lawmakers who voted against the bills in the Senate to expose them and ensure they didn’t return to the National Assembly in 2023.

READ ALSO: IWD22: Reps backpedal, to reconsider 3 women bills

Obi however commended the House of Representatives for reconsidering the 3 set of legislation.

“I have been here from day and we are going to continue to be here on all the days they are sitting.

“We are demanding that the Senate will go back and represent the 5 gender bills.

“We have seen some action from the House of Representatives. We thank the Leadership of the House for what they have done so far.

“All those who voted against those gender bills, we are looking for their names. The Senators who voted against, we are looking for the list and by the time we have the list, we will see to what we are going to do.

“We will name them and ensure they don’t come back to the National assembly because they are not gendered sensitive. Women are 50 percent of the population and what that means is that they are the major votes.

“We are tired of voting for men. This is men’s parliament, 6.7% of representation? What is that? You can’t decide for other people. If you are not the one with disability, how do you feel the pinch of how it is to live your life with disability? And so, if you are not a woman, how do you become the chairman of the women committee?

“We do our review meeting everyday and as far as our demands are not met, we will continue to occupy the national assembly.

“House of Representatives has been able to do something to show us that they are responding. And what were our demands, go and rescind, represent and pass the bills because of 50 percent of the population is telling you to do something for us because all these years, we have been lobbying and advocating. How long are we going to do that? Quality of the decisions can only be enriched when everybody is sitting on the table. You can then negotiate for the people of your constituency.

“The majority of the constituencies in Nigeria are being represented by the men. The men are not allowing the women.

“We are saying that they should go and have a rethink. We are here, very peaceful. Since we started, we have been very peaceful and we will remain peaceful.

“The fact that the House of Representatives has done something means something is going on.

“The senators have not responded, have not done anything. Our anger is now with the Senate but the House can also improve.

“There are so many groups that are here, professional, rural, market women, different groups of people.

“We also say a big thank you to the media. The media has been our strength. We appreciate them”, she said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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