Reps postpone debate on bill to eliminate discrimination against women

The House of Representatives on Thursday deferred consideration of a proposed legislation seeking to enforce certain provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.

The legislation is titled: “A Bill for an Act to incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discriminatory against Women, the protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, National Gender Policy, and for other matters connected therewith”.

Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who presided over the session, predicated the decision to postpone consideration of the legislation till Tuesday, on some ambiguities inherent in the content of the bill.

It was sponsored by Nkem Abonta and already slated for second reading on the floor of the chamber.

Mr. Tambuwal directed its sponsors to liaise with the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Albert Sam-Tsokwa, to come up with more articulate and explicit legislation.

Specifically, the bill seeks to provide a legislation that will eliminate all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex in private and public spaces; affirm women’s rights to equal opportunities to realise their full potential and provide protection for women’s bodily and human dignity.

Other key provisions of the bill include the prohibition of discrimination in education, employment, health, on grounds of marital status, and socio-economic basis.

It also contemplates the adoption of temporary special measures to eliminate discrimination in political and public life, and gives prominence to the right to choose indigeneship and identity.

The bill also seeks to protect widows from inhuman treatment or degradation and allows widows automatic guardianship and custody of their children after the death of their husbands.

It grants women access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing facilities, appropriate technology and equal treatment in land and agrarian reform since majority of them in the rural areas produce most of the food consumed in the country.

The passage of the bill, according to its sponsor, will contribute to the fulfillment of Nigeria’s international, regional and national commitments to promote and protect women’s human rights.


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