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Gender bills: Women suspend National Assembly protests

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NIGERIAN women who have been protesting against the rejection of five gender bills by members of the National Assembly suspended the demonstrations on Wednesday.

The women, drawn from several groups, have been protesting at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.

Announcing the suspension of the protests at a press briefing in Abuja, Civil Rights Activist Abiola Akinyode-Afolabi said the women would continue to pressure the legislators over the rejected bills.

“We also urge all Nigerians, especially its women, not to give up hope as we shall continue to apply pressure to persuade the NASS to act responsibly,” she said.

Afolabi also noted that legislators would be held accountable over the promise to attend to the bills within seven legislative days.

“We recognise the recommittal of three of the gender bills by the House of Representatives. It gives us hope for a better future. We also recognize their respect and honour for Nigerian women by sending a delegation to us yesterday, the 22nn d of March, led by the Principal Officers Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Majority Leader.

“We are determined to hold them accountable to their promises to ensure that within seven legislative days, the gender bills are recommitted and positively voted for the inclusive growth and development of Nigeria,” she said.

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Following Nigerian legislators’ rejection of five gender bills while voting on proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution, hundreds of women gathered at the National Assembly complex in protest.

The protesters had described the rejection as disappointing, backward and a stand against women in the country.

After a series of protests, members of the House of Representatives rescinded their decision on three of the bills, which were recommitted for consideration.

The three bills for reconsideration include those that seek to expand the scope of citizenship by registration, provide criteria for qualification to become an indigene of a state in Nigeria and establish 35 per cent affirmative action for women in political party administration.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via vopara@icirnigeria.org

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