By Udora Orizu
Female lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representative have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to forward an Executive Bill to the two chambers of the National Assembly on 35 percent affirmative action for women in government.
The lawmakers who expressed their views, during a workshop for national and state assemblies women legislators on gender legislation, organised by National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) bemoaned frustrations from their male counterparts in both chambers whenever issues affecting women were brought up for consideration during constitution amendment exercises.
In her goodwill message, Senator Oluremi Tinubu said male politicians will continue to frustrate any move to give women a special place in government without the intervention of Mr President.
She appealed to Buhari to send an Executive Bill to that effect and persuade the leadership of the National Assembly to pass it.
Also speaking, the Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, said everything must be done to guarantee the place of women in politics.
She said, ”There are still too many obstacles restricting women in Nigeria. This is more prevalent and damaging in politics and governance. We keep women from participating in governance. The society suffers because of this. It often feels as if our best days are behind us. I wholeheartedly support women’s participation in politics. I support and endorse moves to help women in government.”
Earlier, NILDS Director General, Abubakar Suleiman, in his address, revealed that women constitute only 11.2 percent of the membership of both chambers of the National Assembly.
He said the exclusion of women in politics has been identified in recent times as one of the major setbacks for economic development.
He noted that while several efforts have been made to address the low participation and representation of women in elective and appointive positions in Nigeria, these interventions have been hampered by patriarchal practice, stigmatization as well as religious and cultural factors.
The DG added that the workshop therefore centers on gender-responsive legislation as a means to addressing some of the myriad challenges that women and girls face in Nigeria.