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Sunday, March 26, 2023

International Women’s Day: Reps to reconsider three rejected gender bills

The House of Representatives has rescinded its decision on three gender-related bills which were earlier rejected.

House of Representatives
The Nigerian House of Representatives in session

The decision was taken on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Abuja after an executive session.

The three bills to be reconsidered are: Indigeneship bill, Citizenship bill and the 35 per cent affirmative action on political parties bill.

Other bills rejected are bill to provide special seats for women at national assembly, affirmative action for women in political party administration and inclusion of at least ten per cent affirmative action in favour of women in Ministerial appointments.

The Bill failed to sail on March 1 during voting on 68 amended clauses in the 1999 constitutional amendments.

Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, who announced the decision of the House, said the bills would come up for voting in four weeks’ time.

He said that the action was to rescind three of the decisions that were taken on that day in the next four weeks, the house would come up for voting.

He said that situation where there is a difference in the voting results, he would rely on the Constitution to rule on the harmonisation since the Constitution allowed the House to regulate itself.

He said: “Let me quickly touch on the clause. If we at that point have a difference, we will go for harmonisation.

“The Constitution section allows the House to regulate its procedures. I will rely on the Constitution to harmonise.”

Gbajabiamila, however, called on the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubarkar Fulata, to move that the decision of the House be rescinded.

Fulata later moved the motion, and it was seconded by the deputy minority leader of the House, Toby Okechukwu.

There was no dissenting voice when the Speaker called for a voice vote.

The decision of the House may not be unconnected with the series of protests by women groups at the premises of the National Assembly.

The gesture may also be coming because of the International Women’s Day observed on Tuesday.

By Femi Ogunshola

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