Apparently piqued by the rejection of the gender inclusive bills by the National Assembly, former Governor of Enugu state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani has urged Nigerian women not to give up the struggle but be further spurred to mobilize towards its actualization in due course.
The senator in a statement he personally signed and made available to the Guardian on Sunday expressed the view that Nigerian women should rather begin the sensitization and mobilization towards the passage of the bills from the grass root rather than making the battle an elitist struggle.
Senator Nnamani who is the only male Senator in the women Affairs Committee in the parliament said women rights needs to be given due attention because “Women’s rights are also human rights “.
Five bills including those which sought to grant citizenship to foreign husbands of Nigerian women, create special seats for women in the National and state houses of Assembly and allocation of 35 per cent of political appointments to women were rejected by the federal law makers during consideration of the constitutional amendments.
But Senator Nnamani told the women not to give up the struggle because “there is still a window for consideration of the bills saying “all you need to do is to go back to the drawing board and strengthen your mobilization from the grass root to the top. Time is now.”
Nigerian women under various non governmental organizations (NGOs) had taken to the streets to protest against the rejection of the bills and vowed to vote against identified law makers opposed to the bills in the forthcoming elections.
Senator Nnamani wants the bills fine tuned to expunge mundane issues preparatory for representation saying “If we desired development, we need to encourage and empower women as partners in the voyage”.
The former governor of Enugu state reputed for his advocacy for women liberation and empowerment said “it is time for the society to rise up against barriers militating against women advancement in the country”.
He listed some of the barriers against women to include; abysmal maternal mortality, horrendous child mortality , female genital mutilation, child trafficking, rape, poor girl child education and early marriages.
Senator Nnamani also identified attendant obstetrical accidents, educational institutions abuse, work place harassment, unequal pay for equal work, social denigration and political exclusion as ills against women in Nigeria .
He promised to continue the advocacy for women liberation and advancement till the harmful cultural practices against them are actualized.
In the 8th Senate under Senator Bukola Saraki, similar proposal; “Gender Equality Bill” to give women equal opportunities like their counterparts sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi was also rejected.