The Gombe State Government has pledged to support the passage and domestication of the proposed Gombe State Gender and Equal Opportunities for All Persons’ Bill, which seeks to promote development of all persons.
Speaking during an advocacy visit by the UN Women, the State Ministry of Women Affairs and members of the Technical Working Committee, who reviewed the draft bill, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, said after the executive arm looked at the bill and forwarded it, he believed the Gombe State House of Assembly would pass it into law.
Governor Dankwambo, who was represented by his Deputy Governor, Dr. Charles Iliya, said other states had enacted laws on gender and equal opportunities, and that Gombe State would not be an exception.
Dr. Iliya said the bill would be sent to the State House of Assembly as soon the executive arm reviewed it.
“I want to assure you in the same spirit and the belief that, what gathered us today together is the intention of making sure that whatsoever law is put in place should also be helpful to Gombe State. Gombe State cannot be an exception since the other states have started, Gombe State is prepared to do that.
So after going through, we believe our state assembly will do justice to it. So that the work that you have done will also be fulfilled and appreciated by everybody. I want to thank you very much and appreciate you that the bill will be sent to the state assembly as soon as the government has gone through it and is the hope that this will at the end of this, will be approved,” said Dr. Iliya.
Meanwhile, the Gender Technical Advisor of UN Women in Gombe State, Mrs. Rhoda Zira-Dia, thanked the government for the huge support the organization was receiving from them, through the Ministry of Women Affairs, in trying to ensure that the bill becomes law in the state.
The journey to ensure the passage of the gender bill into law began in March 2016, with the constitution of the Technical Working Committee, which was further divided into four sub-committees to ensure that the bill is understood and accepted by all people in Gombe State.
The Gender Technical Advisor of UN Women in Gombe State, Mrs. Rhoda Zira-Dia, said the programme of UN Women was being implemented in the three states of Adamawa, Plateau and Gombe State, but that in Plateau, the State Assembly had already passed the bill into law.
Mrs. Zira-Dia said the draft was worked on by the committee, made up of religious leaders, traditional rulers, civil society organizations, relevant government agencies and the media,who reviewed the bill in the context of Gombe State.
“Their sole responsibility is to review the bill in the context of Gombe State, looking at our religion, our culture, so that we don’t bring what is being practiced from other states to Gombe. So they really worked very hard for over a year. They have been sitting from time to time to reviewing the bill back to back and at the end of the day, they have come up with a draft of what will be domesticated in Gombe,” Mrs. Zira-Dia said.
One of the Lead Mentors of the UN Women, a civil rights activist and a member of the Technical Working Committee, Mrs. Hannatu Ibrahim, said Gombe State would have been the first state to pass the bill into law, but wanted it to be in consonance with the culture and religion of the people, hence the deliberate indebt review by relevant stakeholders.
“ The proposed Gombe State Gender and Equal Opportunities for Persons Bill desired that Gombe State should have been the first to have implement it. But because we want it to be in consonance with our cultural norms and our religious norms, that is why up to now we have not had it approved. But this morning in the presence of all of you here, representing His Excellency, I am sure when this bill is presented, it will be approved, forwarded to the house of assembly and I am sure the way you are working with the house of assembly, there will be no problem,” Mrs. Ibrahim said.
The UN Women says the Gender and Equal Opportunities for Persons Bill does not seek to equate women with men, or seek to turn women against men, but wants the society to give all persons equal opportunities for growth and development of the society.