The United Nations Population Fund-UNFPA’s Representative in Nigeria Ms Rita Ndholovu has asked the Nigerian senate to re-consider “The Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill” it threw out in March this year.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Abiodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti South Federal Constituency was rejected after some senators said it violated traditional and religious codes of marriage.
In a statement, Ms Ndholovu said the bill “deserves another look and adoption by the Senate as a further step by Nigeria towards fulfilling humanity’s vision of transforming our world by 2030 to ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality.’”
“Such action will be one of the practicable national responses to help implement the Sustainable Development Agenda, as agreed by the world’s leaders, including Nigeria’s, in September 2015.” She explained.
Protection of Women
Ndholovu pointed out that protecting women and girls, investing in their rights and providing opportunities for them to prosper benefits not only their families, but also communities and the whole nation.
She further mentioned that the vision of the gender equality is imbedded in the ”International Bill of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ” all of which Nigeria has committed to realizing.
UNFPA is the latest organisation to join in asking the Senate to reconsider and adopt the Gender bill to ensure Nigeria attains the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Bill and Reaction
Meanwhile, the National Council For Women Societies-NCWS, The Gender Equality Movement and many other Civil Society Organisations have reacted following the rejection of the bill by the senate.
The Enugu state Chairman of NCWS, Dr Rita Ugwu, said that the new Sustainable Development Goals-SDGs could only be achieved through gender equality.
“I am disappointed that in this 21st century, people are still backward to understand that sustainable development for any nation can only be achieved if women are given the opportunity to exercise their talents.
“Why then do we have a saying that when you empower a woman, you empower the nation,’’ she said.