from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE National Assembly’s rejection of bills meant to promote the interest of women has cast doubts on Nigeria’s commitment to gender equality.
This has coincided with the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD), commemorated on Tuesday (today).
Lawmakers last week rejected five bills sought to promote more opportunities for women in political parties, governance and the society at large.
The rejection happened during the ongoing constitutional amendment.
Some women have planned a protest to the National Assembly on International Women’s Day to express their anger to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari himself is under renewed criticism for previous statements, which critics and activist said were demeaning of his wife, Aisha.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has endorsed the protest.
CNPP is the umbrella body of all registered political parties and political associations in the volatile West African country.
Willy Ezugwu, the CNPP Secretary General, lamented that the wishes of Nigerian people seldom prevailed, hence the rejection of the gender equity bills “was not a surprise.”
“The lawmakers have always failed to flow with the mood of the nation and prevailing international standards at all times,” he said.
Ezugwu said CNPP, therefore, called on the lawmakers to immediately revisit all bills that would promote gender equity and end discrimination against women on the basis of gender.
“In Nigeria, we should transcend our biases against women, freedom of religion and go ahead to value and celebrate our differences to forge gender equity rather than widen the equity gaps,” Ezugwu said.
CNPP called on the All Progressives Congress (APC) – controlled National Assembly and Buhari to end the policy of relegating women to “the other room” as Nigeria marked International Women’s Day.
Buhari triggered outrage in 2016 in a response to his wife’s questioning her leadership.
“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen, and my living room and the other room,” he shocked the media while visiting Germany.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest country by population, estimated at 215 million.
Females make up 49,32 percent, as reported by the World Bank collection of development indicators.
– CAJ News