Nigerian lawmakers: Amend repressive gender clauses in the Constitution

Nigerian lawmakers: Amend repressive gender clauses in the Constitution

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Cynthia Mbamalu started this petition to National Assembly of Nigeria

On 1 March 2022, we watched with other Nigerian women as the National Assembly failed to pass the Gender Bills making specific provisions for women in the Constitution. There were 68 constitutional amendment Bills in the National Assembly of which 5 of those bills were proposing amendments on affirmative actions for women and women’s rights as citizens of Nigeria.

With continued protests by Nigerian women, the House of Representatives on March 8, 2022, rescinded its position on 3 of the Bills: Citizenship, Indigeneship, and Affirmative Action for Party Administration. We need the lawmakers to vote in support of these Bills.

I want you to sign this petition to put pressure on lawmakers to pass the 5 Gender Bills. Read more about the Bills here:

These Gender Bills include:

1. Bill to expand the scope of citizenship by registration: this Bill seeks to amend the constitution to enable foreign spouses of Nigerian women to acquire citizenship by registration. This right already exists in the constitution for men as it enables only foreign spouses of Nigerian men to acquire citizenship. It is an injustice to reserve a right of full citizenship to only men and deny women of that same right in a constitutional democracy regulated by the rule of law and human rights. Amend section 26 of the Constitution. (This Bill was not passed in the National Assembly because it did not receive the required two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives).

2. Bill Expanding Indigeneship rights: this bill seeks to amend the constitution to expand indigeneship to Nigerians living in states other than their state of origin after a period of time and to women who marry from states other than their state of origin to benefit from certain rights relating to employment, education, appointment, and election into a political and public office. This amendment is intended to address the injustice women who marry outside their states of origin face. Denying Nigerian women indigeneity through marriage is leaving many women stateless in a country where they are citizens. Amend sections 31 and 318 of the constitution. (This Bill was not passed in the National Assembly because it did not receive the required two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives). 

3. Bill to Create Special Seats for Women: This Bill seeks to amend the constitution to create seats for women in the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly. With this amendment, there will be 74 additional seats in the House of Representatives, 37 in the Senate, and 3 in each State Assembly that only women can contest for.  Today in Nigeria, 15 of the 36 States' Assemblies have no female representatives. Women's representation at the National assembly is currently 4.47% while there are only 44 women out of the 991 State legislators. The idea of the Bill is to ensure that every State has women representation in the National Assembly and State Assemblies. The special seats will only be operational for 4 electoral cycles and do not preclude women from contesting for the other seats. Amend sections 48, 49, 71, 77, 117. (This Bill was not passed in the National Assembly because it did not receive the required two-thirds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate).


4. Bill to Ensure Affirmative Action for Women in Political Party Administration: This Bill provides a legal mandate on the political parties to ensure that at least 35% of its members of the Executive Council are women. Amend Section 223 of the Constitution! (This Bill was not passed in the National Assembly because it did not receive the required two-thirds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate). 

5. Bill to Affirmative Action for Women in the Appointment of Ministers and Commissioners: this Bill seeks to amend the constitution to ensure affirmative action for women in the appointment of Ministers and Commissioners by the President and Governors respectively. For this Bill, the House of Representatives proposed 20% and the Senate proposed 10% affirmative action. Failing to adopt 35% affirmative action for appointed positions denies women of the opportunity of having at least 35% representation in public leadership.  Amend sections 142 and 192 of the Constitution!

So what is our demand?

A demand; for the Lawmakers to recommit the Bills and urgently pass them in the National Assembly.

What we need to do...

1. I am asking you to sign this petition and call the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, ask them to recommit all  5 gender bills and pass them.

2. I call on you to call your representatives in the House of Representatives to vote in favour of the three Bills to be represented. 

3. I call on you to please Get ready with your Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to Vote out lawmakers during elections who do not vote in favour of the Gender Bills and in the interest of our democracy.

Who is affected if these Gender Bills are not passed?

Every Nigerian: who is consistently deprived of a quality standard of living because of the absence of women in the decision-making process to inform policies and laws that are truly targeted to developing the society. 

Nigerian women and girls: who are constantly subjected to different forms of discrimination in education, employment, political leadership, and the economy.
Nigeria: a beautiful and rich country that is badly impoverished by poor leadership made of and controlled majorly by old(er) men and money bags. Changing the quality of leaders and balancing representation can produce better outcomes for development. 

I acknowledge the hard work and efforts of women groups and women leaders under the Womanifesto Platform, civil society partners, and male allies who are standing tall and fighting hard against this injustice. This petition is part of the ongoing protest organized by Nigerian Women and gender advocates fighting for an equal society. 

#BreakConstitutionBias  #BreakPoliticalBias  #NigerianWomenOccupyNASS

 

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