Bill to create 74 extra legislative seats for women passes second reading

A bill seeking the creation of 74 seats for women in the federal parliament passed a second reading in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The bill Sponsored by Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu and 12 others seeks to alter Sections 48, 49, 71, and 117 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to create one “Special seat reserved exclusively for women in the Senate and House of Representatives for each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory .”

The bill proposes to take effect after the term of the current national assembly elapses and is subject to review every 16 years.

The bill also proposes to alter Section 91 of the constitution to provide for three special seats “Reserved exclusively” for women in the State Houses of Assembly.

Leading the debate, a member representing Lavun/Mokwa/Edati Federal; Constituency, Niger State and co-sponsor of the bill, Joshua Gana, said the proposed law will address the “Profound imbalance and the under-representation of women in the National Assembly and at sub-national levels.”

Gana added that the bill is “Anchored on the fundamental principle of equitable representation and aims to empower women by ensuring their voices are not only heard but that they actively contribute to shaping the legislative landscape and the overall development of our nation. The issue of gender equality and representation lies at the heart of our constitutional democracy,” he said.

He lamented that even though the Constitution guarantees equal rights, the representation of women in the legislature has been “Alarmingly low.”



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