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In Abuja Activist urges NASS to re-present Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill

Awosika stated that Nigeria must be actively engaged in opening doors of opportunities for the women folk to be able to advance as other countries have.

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National Assembly Nigeria

(Abuja Facts)

Dr Keziah Awosika, the Executive Director, Women, Law and Development Centre Nigeria (WLDCN), an NGO, on Monday urged the Senate to re-present the ``Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill” for consideration.

Awosika made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

She said that the lawmakers could amend whatever conflicting provisions the bill might contain, rather than outrightly rejecting it.

NAN reports that the Senate had on March 14 thrown out the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill that was sponsored by Sen. Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti-South-PDP) for lack of merit.

"The Gender and Equality Opportunity Bill that was sent out of Senate is really unfortunate, because it shows that the Nigeria of the twenty-first century is backward.

"Other countries have gone miles ahead.

"In fact, when we heard this, we as Nigerians, felt really ashamed. Later on when we sat down to look at it and see what we could do and all that, we realised that something was wrong with our constitution.

"And we Gender and Constitutional Review Committee have been mentioning this for years, but suddenly they brought in this Sharia thing. So, everything came into conflict.

"But there is nothing in the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill that is really conflicting seriously that cannot be amended and this is why I am glad the Senate said we should bring it back, but they must not water it down to the level that it becomes useless.’’

Awosika stated that Nigeria must be actively engaged in opening doors of opportunities for the women folk to be able to advance as other countries have.

"The whole world is moving towards equality; we are moving backwards and I think we must do a lot to address this at every level, not only in terms of national appointments, (but also) in terms of elections.

"The men are not encouraging us; if they do not encourage us, the nation will not be better off for it.

"Most growth-oriented countries in the world are the places where women play a major role in governance.’’

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