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Senate may not reconsider gender bills, says Abaribe

  Eyinnaya Abaribe, minority leader of the senate, says the senate may not revisit the gender bills rejected by the national assembly.   ...

 

Eyinnaya Abaribe, minority leader of the senate, says the senate may not revisit the gender bills rejected by the national assembly.

 

Abaribe said this on Sunday on 90MinutesAfrica, an online interview programme, hosted by Rudolf Okonkwo and Chido Onumah.

 

 Federal lawmakers, on March 1, voted against a bill seeking to provide special seats for women in the national and state houses of assembly.

 

Also rejected was a bill seeking to provide “reserve quota” for women on appointments.


 The decision was followed by protests by women’s groups and civil society activists who have been demanding a reconsideration of the bills.

 

Subsequently, the house of representatives rescinded its decision on three ”gender bills” in the constitution amendment.

 

But speaking on Sunday, Abaribe said there is no provision for the bills in the senate schedule for the remainder of its tenure and that “the senate is not reconsidering revisiting the bill”.


He said even if the bills were to be reconsidered, they would have to be reintroduced as fresh bills, adding that the political and electioneering activities ahead of the 2023 elections would make that process difficult to achieve because “senators may not pay attention to the bills as they would be engrossed in ensuring their survival in the political field”.

 

He, however, said there was a glimmer of hope if both chambers of the national assembly agree to fast track the process.

 

Speaking further, Abaribe explained how the gender bills were “debated, voted and agreed” upon in the committee sessions.

 

“The members of the committee came from all parts of the country. So, after agreeing on the gender bills at the committee level we thought they would be passed easily on the floor of the senate without too much problem,” he said.

 

He expressed surprise that the bills were overwhelmingly rejected by senators during voting and pointed out that the action of the senators shows that the “influence of gender and cultural patterns is still very strong and preeminent in their thinking”.


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