Nigerian Feminist Forum reacts: the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill
In March of 2015, there was widespread anger and disappointment at the rejection of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill (GEOB) by the Nigerian Senate. Unfortunately, this did not come as a surprise to the members of the Nigerian Feminist Forum. In this, their statement in response to the rejection of the GEOB, the forum points to the consistent trivialising of gender related issues in recent Nigerian politics, and the low level of women’s representation in parliament, as reasons why the bill failed.
The forum recalls that in 2015, Nigerian women voted for change. Yet the male legislature continues to impede the domestication of international treaties such as The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women. The GEOB would have facilitated the integration of these instruments into Nigerian law, and failure to pass the bill is contrary to the wishes of Nigerian women voters. The forum thanks Senator Olujimi for their support of the GEOB, and excoriates the detrimental role played by Senator Sani Yerima in shutting the bill down.
Finally, the forum calls on the legislative houses to: reintroduce the bill for an informed debate on the floor; reintroduce the bill into the senate on the executive, not residual, list; consult with civil society organisations for better analysis and understanding of the issues; and pass without delay the GEOB when re-introduced on the floor of the legislative chambers.