The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has commended the courage and thoughtfulness of the National Assembly in proposing a law for constitutional amendment for 111 special additional seats for women in the two chambers of the NASS to serve as a remedy to the current low representation of women in legislative Houses in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq in identifying with aforesaid demand by the women, recalled that the Commission had on serval occasions in the past collaborated with various Civil Society Organization (CSOs), UNDP and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs etc in proposing “Women Participation in Elections Bill” and several other related bills that would give legal backing to affirmative action towards widening the political space for women participation in politics and governance in the country.
According to “Mr Human Rights” in Nigeria, most of the laws and policies in Nigeria today need affirmative action to be mainstreamed into them so that all can appreciate and understand issues bothering on the female gender.
The bill when passed into law will help Nigeria tap the full potentials of women in elective offices for the sustainable and improved exploitation of the Human Resources of Nigeria and thereby improving our rate of development.
Ojukwu further gave kudos to Nigerian women, particularly the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen and Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejiocha for respectively promoting and sponsoring the Bill seeking to create 111 additional special seats for women in the National Assembly.
Similarly, the Executive Secretary commended the 9th National Assembly, the President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for supporting this very laudable legislative initiative.
Ojukwu assured Nigerian women that the Commission would continue to show solidarity in every advocacy towards the passage of the Bill into law as well as support them in championing other causes to further protect women from discrimination and other human rights violations.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen in a press statement in Abuja said the Bill seeking to create 111 additional special seats for women in the National Assembly has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.
"When passed into law, 37 additional seats will be created in the Senate and 74 in the House of Representatives for women and one additional member’s seat from each of the three Senatorial districts in the state will be created exclusively for women in each state House of Assembly", the Minister stated.
She however noted that the Bill is subject to a review after four general election cycles of 16 years for the purpose of retaining, increasing or abolishing the temporary measure.
Fatimah Agwai Mohammed
Deputy Director Public Affairs.