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‘Passing gender equality bill won’t reduce men’s power’

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
16 November 2021   |   3:08 am
Stakeholders and rights activists have called on the National Assembly to give priority attention to the speedy passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill (GEOB).

Biodun Olujimi

Stakeholders and rights activists have called on the National Assembly to give priority attention to the speedy passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill (GEOB).

They argued that the proposed legislation was not meant to alter the balance of power or reduce men’s ‘power’ but promote national development.

They spoke in Abuja, yesterday, at a forum tagged, ‘The Men Conversations’, organised by Women Radio 91.7 and supported by United Nations (UN) Women.

The GEOB, championed by the senator representing Ekiti South, Biodun Olujimi, is aimed at imposing measures to address past and current discriminatory practices, especially against women.

The bill was first rejected in March 2016 when some male lawmakers argued that the Nigerian Constitution is clear on the rights of citizens, including women.

Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, described Nigeria as a nation that doesn’t prioritise the needs of women. According to him, it is ironic that a society that claims to practice constitutional democracy is reluctant to pass legislation that addresses injustices meted to women.

Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights in Islam, Prof. Mustapha Ismail, berated those who oppose the passage of the bill on the basis of religion and culture, saying they were doing so out of ignorance. He regretted that religion and culture are deliberately used to perpetuate injustice against women and girls.