The Senate Committee on Constitution Review on Wednesday presented its report with the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, present in the chamber to witness the event.
Mrs Buhari walked into the upper chamber at about 12:10 p.m., in the company of the Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and other women.
She appeared in plenary to witness the laying of the report of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, had on Tuesday, announced that the report will be laid at the Senate today and voting on the panel’s recommendations for the new amendments to the constitution will be done next Tuesday.
“Let me on behalf of all of us welcome to the chamber the first lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the mother of the nation. Your Excellency, you are welcome.
“Let me recognise the presence of the honourable Minister of Women Affairs, who is a friend of the senate,” the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said after Mrs Buhari settled in the chamber.
Thereafter, the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, moved a motion for the Senate to receive the report from the committee chairman, Mr Omo-Agege.
Before laying the report, Mr Omo-Agege said in the proposed amendments, there is a provision for 36 slots in the Senate meant for only women.
This prompted Mr Lawan to say the Senate has been gender-sensitive and is working to include women in governance.
“The first lady has been consistent in supporting gender inclusivity, we are all in support of gender sensitivity. In this senate, we have only two groups, the female senators and ‘he for shes’.
“This is a report on the constitution review and the presence of the first lady is to show her support for one of the bills on affirmative action for more female parliamentarians in both chambers, the Senate and the House and the state legislatures.
“Your Excellency, I want to encourage you to continue with your advocacy.”
Mrs Buhari left the chamber soon after the report was laid.
The lawmakers are expected to study the contents of the report ahead of the voting process on Tuesday.
Some provisions of the report require the mandatory two-thirds and four-fifth requirements of the membership of the entire Senate, to be considered and voted on.
The Constitution Review is the fifth alteration to the primary Nigerian law. The voting process will be the final stage of the review process.
While some Nigerians have condemned the entire process, describing it as a waste of time and resources, other Nigerians said it is timely and long overdue.
Some major recommendations made by individuals and civic groups range from restructuring and devolution of powers, robust electoral reforms, gender inclusiveness, and financial autonomy for the judiciary and local governments.
The creation of new states and state policing are some other major demands that came up during public hearings – a point President Muhammadu Buhari has openly opposed.