On Wednesday, the Senate voted down a bill that would have provided equal chances for men and women in the country.
Senator Biodun Olujimi’s proposed legislation is headed ‘A bill for an Act to create provisions for women’s empowerment and gender equality, and to establish a legislative framework for women’s empowerment.’
Its goal was to harmonize all areas of women’s empowerment laws and their execution.
It was also created to address concerns about women’s representation in decision-making, positions, and structures.
Olujimi noted that the proposed legislation was aimed at reducing discrimination against women, and that the similar bill she sponsored in the Eight Senate had met the same conclusion.
When Olujimi submitted the bill for second reading on Wednesday, about four senators spoke out against it.
Their arguments against it, similar to those made in the Eighth Senate, were that it would offend religious sensibilities and render it unworkable in some sections of the country.
Other senators thought the bill should be given a second reading so that stakeholders’ opinion could be considered.
The situation erupted into a raging debate, with the majority position, including that of Senate President Ahmad Lawan, being that the bill’s sponsor should consult widely and reintroduce it after addressing severe concerns highlighted by senators.
Olujimi stated that she consulted widely before reintroducing the bill in the Ninth Senate, and she expressed astonishment at the outcome.
She said, “I actually consulted widely and 62 senators signed up to be cosponsors but if I am being asked to step it down just because about three senators raised concerns, so be it.”
The Senate President then ruled that the bill be stepped down to allow for further consultations.
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