From Emmanuel Iyoho
Women groups on Thursday continued their protest at the National Assembly gate making the fifth day, since their protest began on Wednesday, March 2, 2023.
They gathered early morning at the National Assembly demanding that lawmakers rescind their decision over rejection of five gender bills in the process of amendment of 1999 Constitution.
Recall that the protest by the women drawn from various groups began on Wednesday, March 2, even as members of the House of Representatives in reaction to the women’s demands on Tuesday, March 8, rescinded their decision on three of the gender bills.
The women, however, continued the protest demanding thatmembers of the Senate should join the House of Representatives members in re-visiting the bills.
Their demands included the immediate approval for all the five gender bills. Among other demands, the women want specific seats in the National Assembly, indigeneship of their husbands after five years of being together, and 35 percent affirmative action for women.
The protesting women insist that they would continue to picket the gate of the National Assembly till all their demands are met, even as they also threatened to vote out the lawmakers who voted against women in the Constitutional review.
They demanded that the voting pattern for those bills be released to them so they could mobilise women at all levels of government to vote out the lawmakers who they say took a stand against Nigerian women at the Constitutional review.
Among the women groups that gathered for the protest include the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWA) and Women Organisation for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN).
Others are Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA), Women In Business (WIMBIZ), Action Aid, Yiaga Africa, the Islamic Youth League, among others.
In the meantime, the House of Representatives hasrescinded its decision on three gender bills earlier rejected in the process of the 1999 Constitution amendment.
The bills are on indigenship, citizenship and 35 percent affirmative action for women. The bills will be recommended for consideration and will be part of the second batch of the Constitution amendment to be presented in a couple of months.
The decision to revisit the bill follows earlier disapproval by women who stormed the National Assembly lamenting rejection of women-related bills.
The women, during her protest on Wednesday vowed to return to the National Assembly gate if the decision was not reversed, adding that they were disappointed despite having assurances from the leadership of the house on the bills.
Weekend Pioneer reports that the women groups demanded that the federal lawmakers should take another look at the requests for 111 seats for women, citizenship, 35 percent representation in party leadership, more appointive positions in government, and vote in favour of these amendments.