Bill on gender equality in marriage passes second reading in Nigerian Senate

A bill seeking gender equality has passed second reading at the senate.

Abiodun Olujimi, a senator from Ekiti south‎, reintroduced the bill 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.

Speaking on the bill on Thursday, Olujimi explained 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,” she said.

“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.”

Speaking on the bill, Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, said that some sections of the bill were already in the constitution.

And 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.

Also speaking, Remi Tinubu, a senator from Lagos central,‎ 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,” she said.

“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.‎”

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.

Thereafter, Saraki referred the bill to the committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters for more legislative treatment.

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