Nigerian women ‘indigeneship’ bill gets second reading in House

Members of the House of Reps

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed through second reading, a bill for an act to amend the Federal Character Commission Act to allow married women chose which indigeneship they want.

Edward Pwajok (Plateau-APC), who sponsored the bill said it seeks to address the issue of appropriate indigeneship for married women.

He also said that the extant law is discriminatory against women as a man’s indigeneship is never questioned even when he marries many wives.

He added that married women had been subjected to psychological trauma on the legal uncertainty of their ‘indigenous identity for a very long time’.

“Upon marriage, women become unclear as to whether they are indigenes of their father’s or husband’s homeland,” he argued.

“Women in public service are usually confronted with the dilemma saying that the promotion of a female justice was delayed on account of (her) indigenship.

The lawmaker said several efforts including an attempt to alter the constitution to resolve the situation failed.

He said if the bill is passed into law by the National Assembly would resolve the problem, ”without altering the constitution.”

The legislator said that the ”culture could be patriarchal but democracy and civilisation should give married women the option of choosing so that they may not lose their career benefits.”

The bill was referred to the Committee on Federal Character for further legislative actions.

The controversial issue of women either using their state of origin or that of their husbands when applying for appointments has lingered for decades in Nigeria.

The Federal Character Commission Act currently allows a married woman to lay claim to her husband’s state of origin when applying for any appointment.


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