The Senate has been admonished for its rejection of the gender equality bill sponsored by Senator Abiodun Olujimi form Ekiti State.
Frontline Abuja politician and women rights activists, Ms Enna Itodo, wondered why a Senate that got the mandate of mostly women voters would reject a bill which was meant to secure the dignity of the women folks.
Itodo, a business woman, in a chat with newsmen in Abuja, expressed worry at the arguments of those who opposed the bill considering those issues the bill was designed to protect.
According to Itodo ” The bill was meant to ensure equal rights with men in marriages, education and employment, i dont see any problem with that. With our history, this had become compelling in view of increasing discrimination against women in education and employment. In the United States, top corporate executives, and top producers in Hollywood, are trying to fix pay disparity between men and women”
Itodo said further ” The bill also sought to eliminate discrimination against any person, irrespective of his gender, on any ground, including sexual violence against women, are they saying discrimination, sexual violence are just okay.
The argument of those who opposed it was that it will contradict the provisions of the Sharia Court of Appeal which is part of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
On the above, Itodo said ” It is just so sad that because they believe the bill is at variance with certain provisions of the Sharia Court of Appeal , the bill should be dumped entirely. Does the Sharia law support sexual violence, rape, why not amend the bill at least”
Itodo said further ” Are they telling me it is okay for a widow to be subjected to sundry inhuman treatments, be deprived because the husband is gone. It happens daily. The bill wants to protect widows, ensure they become guardians of children, have the right to remarry whoever they desire not compelled to marry her late husband’s brother, share in inheritance, inherit what she nad her husband worked hard to aquire”
Itodo said ” we must support Act to Incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the Protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of women in Africa, and other matters connected therewith, 2016 (SB. 116).”
Those who opposed the bill argued that most of its provisions were in conflict with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, the same reason given by lawmakers in the Seventh Senate, when similar bill was also rejected.