The controversial bill seeking the adoption of special measures to ensure gender equality of all persons and ensure modifications to gender stereotypes, has passed second reading at the senate.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki
A bill reintroduced by a senator from Ekiti south, Abiodun Olujimi, seeking gender equality, has passed second reading at the senate, after it was rejected in October 2015, when some members opposed it on the grounds that it was in conflict with their religious and cultural beliefs.
Olujimi who spoke on the bill on Thursday, said that the bill did not seek to undermine the beliefs of the Nigerians but it was to create equal opportunities for women.
”It seeks to promote equality and development of all persons in Nigeria. To guarantee effectiveness, the bill adopts special measures on discrimination against persons. It provides that all appropriate measures be taken to eliminate discrimination against women in private and public life.
”It also prohibits all forms of violence against women, whether political, domestic or cultural. It prohibits all forms of trafficking in women,” she said.
The deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, who spoke on the bill, said that some sections of the bill were already in the constitution. He suggested that those sections be looked into at the committee stage.
However, Olusola Adeyeye, senate chief whip, disagreed with him, saying that affirmative laws were needed to address the problem of gender inequality.
The senator from Lagos central, Remi Tinubu, urged her colleagues to support the bill. “I rise to support this bill, and I urge my colleagues to do the same. We cannot undermine the role of women in society.
“Some think I don’t shake men here maybe because of religious or cultural reasons. But I don’t shake men because I feel intimidated,” she said.
After a brief debate on the bill, Senate President Bukola Saraki called a voice vote, and the senate voted overwhelmingly for it to pass second reading. Saraki referred the bill to the committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters for more legislative treatment.
Below are some of the senate's deliberations on the bill we culled from Twitter;