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Group seeks gender inclusion in constitution amendment

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As Senate committee on constitution and electoral act amendment continues its work, a women’s group, under the auspices, Political Participation Technical Working Committee, has advocated for gender inclusion in the process, even as it reflects federal character benchmark.

Making her submission at the public hearing of the amendment of the constitution held in Owerri yesterday, the Chairman of the group, Mrs. Ebere Ifendu, called for the domestication of all the international laws protecting women rights for which Nigeria is a signatory, advocating neutral gender and 35 per cent in appointive positions, she called for the creation of special legislative seats.

According to Ifendu, “to ensure equitable women representation in government, it is important the constitution is reviewed to provide for at least 35 percent women representation in appointive offices at the Federal and State levels.

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“This will begin with an amendment of section 14 subsection (3), that prohibits predominance of persons from a few states, ethnic or sectional groups in the composition of the government and its agencies. Also, to introduce in Section 14 (4) the equitable representation of both sexes in the composition of government at a state, local government councils, or any of it is agencies. Other sections for reference include sections 147(3), 171(5), 192(2), 208 (4). “

Contributing, a member of the House representing Isiala Mbano, Onuimo and Okigwe federal constituency, Princess Miriam Onuoha said that the constitution must be amended to suit current needs, “there are several factors mitigating against women participation in politics which can be addressed by the constitution, hence there is need for gender mainstreaming in review of the constitution to better capture women and vulnerable groups.

“Women are not afraid to participate in politics but so many factors are mitigating against us including finance and socio cultural factors. Women in politics are not idle, wayward or prostitutes, we are all responsible, very qualified and accomplished women. We are here because we need to amend the constitution to suit the needs of the time; every constitution is a work in process, not cast in stone.

“There is need to put an end to the issues bedeviling the constitution especially on gender mainstreaming. We want gender parity to dissect issues that bother both sexes while also protecting the vulnerable including those living with disability, “ she added.

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