The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has commended the National Assembly (NASS) for proposing a law for the constitutional amendment of 111 special additional seats for women in the two chambers of the NASS.
The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Mr Tony Ojukwu, gave the commendation in a statement signed by Mrs Fatimah Agwai – Mohammed, Deputy Director, Public Affairs Unit of the commission.
Ojukwu said that the move serves as a remedy to the current low representation of women in legislative Houses in Nigeria.
“The Commission had on several occasions in the past collaborated with various Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), UNDP and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and others in proposing ‘Women Participation in Elections Bill’.
“Also, on several other related bills that would give legal backing to affirmative action towards widening the political space for women participation in politics and governance in the country.
“Most of the laws and policies in Nigeria today need affirmative action to be mainstreamed into them, so that all can appreciate and understand issues bothering on the female gender,” Ojukwu said.
He further said that the bill, when passed into law, would help Nigeria tap the full potential of women in elective offices for the sustainable and improved exploitation of the Human Resources of Nigeria.
Ojukwu also said that it would improve the nation’s rate of development.
The executive secretary commended Nigerian women, particularly the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen and Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejiocha, for respectively promoting and sponsoring the Bill.
The NHRC boss commended the 9th National Assembly, the President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila for supporting the legislative initiative.
He assured Nigerian women that the commission would continue to show solidarity in every advocacy toward the passage of the bill into law.
According to him, NHRC will also support women in championing other causes to further protect women from discrimination and other human rights violations.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen in a statement in Abuja said that the bill seeking to create 111 additional special seats for women in the National Assembly had passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.
“When passed into law, 37 additional seats will be created in the Senate and 74 in the House of Representatives for women.
“One additional member’s seat from each of the three Senatorial districts in the state will be created exclusively for women in each state House of Assembly,” the minister stated.
She, however, noted that the Bill was subject to a review after four general election cycles of 16 years for the purpose of retaining, increasing or abolishing the temporary measure.