• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Women besiege NASS over death of pro-female bills

Women besiege NASS over death of pro-female bills

Hundreds of women on Wednesday besieged the National Assembly, blocking the main entrance to the nation’s Parliament within the three arms zone. They are protesting against the death of female political advancement bills.

The National Assembly, particularly, the House of Representatives on Tuesday voted against the bills demanding additional legislative seats for women and 35 percent affirmative action in Political Parties Administration.
However, with the intervention of Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila who applied voice vote after several failed attempts of numerical voting, the Bill 68 which provides for 20 percent slots for women in Ministerial appointments was approved.

Pained by the resolutions of the lawmaker, the women trooped to the National Assembly demanding that reversal of the parliament’s decision which they chorused was against international codes which Nigeria is signatory to, saying there not going to shift grounds.

The angry women, some of them lying down, sitting, standing, dancing and singing in protest, threatened not to vote again for male politicians who treat them as second class citizens. In their songs and placards, they described the lawmakers as ‘Sinators’ and ‘Representathieves’ as well as ‘Wrong’ instead of ‘Right’ Honourables.

They were particularly angry with Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President, and his Deputy Ovie Omo-Agege for not standing with women but soft on Gbajabiamila whom they said did his best, though it was not good enough.
Speaking with journalists, one of the leaders of the protest and human rights activist, Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said they were at the National Assembly to get an explanation from leadership on why their emancipation was nipped in the bud.

Akiyode-Afolabi said it was neither too late nor beyond the parliament to make fresh amendments and give women their due which they have paid over the years in the Nigerian political setting.

Read also: Chronicles of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill since 2018

“We are requesting the leadership of the National Assembly to come and have a conversation with us. The first thing we want is for the leadership of the National Assembly to come out here to explain to women what happened yesterday and to assure us that they will be able to direct the situation.

“We are aware that it is actually possible for them to amend with other Bills. We want them to tell us, they are the lawmakers, they are the politicians. They have the capacity to undo what they have done. We are expecting them to come and address us.

“We need an answer to understand why the critical issues which they themselves tag as women and vulnerable groups in their Bills, the Bills could not pass through. We need the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Senate President, we want to see them here today,” said.

When they were going to sustain the auction, the activist said: “We have started, that is why we have brought our mats, we brought our stoves. We know they are probably going through the second gate but we also think at a point in time we will also enter. We are aware of what they can do so we have our plan.”

At the time of this report, the National Assembly leadership or its representative was not on ground to address the protesters.