The House of Representatives Will Reconsider Three Gender Equality Bills

Nigeria’s low women participation in government has been linked to the colonial period and Nigeria’s experience of military rule, both of which disenfranchised women.

On Tuesday, 08 March 2022, the Nigerian House of Representatives rescinded its decision on three of the five gender equality bills previously rejected by the higher and lower levels of parliament. Hassan Fulata, a member of the House of Representatives for Jigawa State proposed a motion to reconsider the rejection of the following bills by the House of Representatives:

1) the bill granting citizenship to foreign-born husbands of Nigerian women
2) the bill granting Nigerian women indigeneship of their husband’s state of origin after 5 years of marriage
3) the bill granting affirmative action for women in party administration and leadership. Fulata’s proposal did not include the other two gender equality bills granting additional seats for women in the National Assembly and guaranteeing 35 per cent of appointed positions for women in cabinets.

The decision to reconsider three bills came yesterday, hours after hundreds of women gathered at the National Assembly in Abuja and the Lagos State House of Assembly in Lagos to protest the rejection of the five gender equality bills intended to promote women’s participation in government.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said that the move by the House to rescind the decision is against the established tradition of the constitution amendment. He noted, however, that the House decided to revisit the bills for the good of the country. Gbajabiamila explained that the House will vote on the three bills in the next phase of the constitution amendment said to take place in a month.

Kadaria Ahmed, director of Radio Now 95.3 FM, told Al Jazeera at the Lagos protest: ‘There is a reason this country is not working. One of them is the lack of female participation. You cannot deny 50 per cent of your population the chance to govern themselves to make laws and policies for themselves and expect that the country will make progress.’

Nigeria’s low women participation in government has been linked to the colonial period and Nigeria’s experience of military rule, both of which disenfranchised women. Today in Nigeria, women face bias in leadership roles, coupled with the high cost of procuring party nomination forms and running campaigns, and the reluctance of male politicians to endorse female candidates or change the status quo

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