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DownloadsConstitution Alteration BillsUpdate: Women Protest Groups defy appeal, demand reconsideration of gender bills

Update: Women Protest Groups defy appeal, demand reconsideration of gender bills

OrderPaperToday – At least 50 women groups on Wednesday, blocked the entrance to the National Assembly Complex, in protest against the ‘rejection of women’s interest’ in the ongoing Constitutional Amendment. 

These issues bother on special seats for women in the legislature, indigeneship, citizenship, and 35 percent affirmative action for party leadership positions. 

The women, in their numbers, blocked the Federal Secretariat axis of the road leading to the National Assembly from 10 am. They sat on the floor with bottles of water to rehydrate themselves as they waited.

Some brought mats to sit on the floor as various protestors took turns addressing them. They also played music and engaged in dancing to keep themselves going.

READ ALSO: Reps, Senators vote against special seats for women in NASS, State Assemblies

Various entreaties (including appealing to them that their issues would be addressed) aimed at getting them to leave fell on deaf ears. They demanded that something must be urgently done to reintroduce the bills that were rejected. 

“Nigerian women, therefore, demand that all gender Bills be reconsidered. Ultimately, our demands will benefit not just women but Nigeria as a whole. More women in governance will only bring progress, and respect for Nigeria in the committee of nations.

We cannot, in 2022, be negotiating the rights of women and the sanctity of the dignity of girls. We call on the National Assembly to represent these Bills as a matter of urgency and ensure that they are passed,” they said. 

READ ALSO: Just In: Women Groups occupy National Assembly, threaten nationwide protest

The groups also insisted they were going to remain there until the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, come out to address them.

Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South); attempted speaking to them but they refused. Also, the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Ajayi Robert Borroffice, led a delegation of senators to appeal to the women, but they also refused. 

Borroffice said they were from the National Assembly leadership and assured that their message would be taken back and dealt with, but they were not to be deterred.

According to them, they felt disappointed and betrayed because they had the assurance of the National Assembly that the Bills would be passed.

READ ALSO: Gender Bills: ‘Women of Nigeria’ release statement on failed amendments

One of the protest leaders, Dr. Abiola Afolabi said the treatment given to the bills by the National Assembly was a manifestation of historical injustices against the Nigerian woman.

She lamented the discriminatory provision against women in the current constitution, as well as the shabby treatment given to the demography when they have so much to contribute to making the country better.

READ ALSO: Constitution Amendment: Gbajabiamila to expose those who voted against women bills

Dr. Afolabi stressed that what they requested through the constitutional amendments was just the bare minimum, as there are still lots of issues to be addressed. 

She said the women were ready to rise up and take their destiny in their hands while calling on women across the country to rise up to the occasion. 

At the time of filing in this report, the gate was still being blocked by the women as they continued to insist that they must meet with Lawan and Gbajabiamila.

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