OrderPaperToday – Human and Gender rights activists on Wednesday stormed the Lagos State House of Assembly complex and demanded of the lawmakers to pass the Gender Equality Bill.
The protesters under the aegis of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group; Working Mums; Art Forum Africa; Women Management Business and Public Services (WIMBIZ) among others, chanted solidarity songs and displayed placards with different inscriptions such as: “Gender equality must be a live reality”, “Gender equality is not a woman’s issue, it is a human issue. It affects us all”, “We are all entitled to live free and equal”, and so on.
Spokesperson for the group, Mrs. Aishat Oyebode, a member of BBOG group, who submitted a petition to the assembly on behalf of the groups, explained that the gender equality bill is not for women alone but to protect and seek justice for all.
She said: “We are standing up for Gender Equality Bill even though it has gone through the second reading before the Federal House of Representative stepped it down while five other states has passed it into law.
“We want this House to also pass its own gender equality bill because women are 50 per cent of the population and they give birth to 100 per cent of the population. What we are asking for is protection and equal opportunity when it comes to marriage, business, employments, politics, inheritance, and so on.”
She further emphasized that gender equality is a precondition to overcoming starvation, poverty and epidemics in our Nigeria, adding that “when we have equal right and opportunity, our families, communities and nation will prosper”.
Responding, Majority Leader of the assembly, Mr. Sanai Agunbiade commended the group for their peaceful conduct and maturity and assured that necessary steps would be taken on the Bill towards its passage.
“I commend you for the peaceful protest. We are already working on the Bill with Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuoso who is always at the forefront for the right of women, we will present your petition to the Speaker because he is sensitive about the peace of the State and woman related issue,” he said.
On her part, Mrs. Tejuoso alongside with Mr. Gbolahan Yishawu and Mr. Tunde Braimoh assured the protesters that the Bill will surely see the light of the day even if it has been stepped down at the Federal level.
“I am a co-sponsor of this particular Bill and we have been working on it since the 7th Assembly, I’m also getting cooperation from both the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and other members of the parliament because I am in support of the bill and opportunity must be for all,” Tejuoso stated.