Female lawmakers shun plenary as n’assembly faces protest

Female lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Wednesday shuned the plenary session, leaving only their male colleagues to consider items scheduled for the day.

The move by the female lawmakers is in protest of the rejection of women-related bills during voting on the constitution amendment process on Tuesday.

The lawmakers who were obviously dissatisfied with the outcome of the voting were absent as at when the session commenced at 11am.

Midway into the session, a female member, Linda Ikpeazu walked into the chamber but immediately made a u-turn after realising she was alone.

Only 12 of the 360 members of the House of representatives are female.

Also, a coalition of 229 women groups has condemned the National Assembly for rejecting all gender bills during the voting on the amendments to the 1999 Constitution on Tuesday.

The groups, in a statement, described the lawmakers’ action as sad and a decision aimed at denying women inclusion and representation in governance.

In a statement, the coalition said: “The men of the ninth assembly, by their actions, have taken us backwards. Their actions undermine the importance and relevance of women’s contribution to the governance of Nigeria including the key role women play to bring victory to political parties in elections at all levels across the country. They also voted against diaspora voting!.”

“More women in governance will only bring progress, and respect for Nigeria in the committee of nations. We cannot, in 2022, be negotiating the rights of women and the sanctity of the dignity of girls.

“We call on the National Assembly to re-present these bills as a matter of urgency and ensure that they are passed,” the statement said.

The groups have also planned to stage a protest at the National Assembly on Wednesday (today) to drive home their demands.

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