The National Council of Women Societies in Nigeria (NCWS) has commended the Senate for giving priority to legislations, oversights and advocacy that focused on economic revival, revitalizing businesses and creating employment.
The NCWS, an umbrella organization of women groups in Nigeria noted that, “the vision of Nigeria is evident to us, through the fact that the Senate is targeting three critical sectors; economic revival, social development and youth employment.”
Speaking while on a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Wednesday, the National President of NCWS, Mrs Gloria Laraba Shoda said by its action, the Senate has aligned its legislative activities with the aspirations of Nigerians, particularly women.
Shoda, according to a statement by Saraki’s Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Mohammed Isa, said “this clearly demonstrates that the Senate has taken time to study the situation by tapping deliberately into the pulse of the people, in a bid to understand the critical issues.”
Shoda urged the Senate to, in line with its vision to address social development through relevant legislations, ensure the final passage of the Gender Equal Opportunity Bill, which will address the contradiction of section 44 of the 1999 Constitution that barred a married woman from claiming her state of marriage, having access to credit facilities, the actualization of 35% affirmative action and domestication of certain International Conventions and Articles on Women issues.
She appealed to the lawmakers to strengthen legislations against rape and suggested 50-year jail term or life imprisonment for the offenders.
While commending the Senate for the recent passage of Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institutions Prohibition Bill, the NCWS President pleaded for the extension of the law to cover primary and post-primary schools and work places.
Responding, the Senate President said by its actions the Senate demonstrated its commitment to always champion the cause of the women.
He said: “we will continue to stand with Nigerian women and we will continue to partner with you to ensure that Nigerian women attain the level we can really say the Nigerian woman has arrived.”
While decrying the rising level of cases of abduction of girls and women, Saraki expressed his readiness to support a bill that will address the menace.
He charged the NCWS to embark on aggressive advocacy and lobby for the final passage of the Gender Equal Opportunity Bill, noting that, “you have my total support for the final passage of the bill but we must lobby hard as it will not come easy.”
On women participation in governance, Saraki said it was a work in progress, and expressed the support of the Senate to ensure the realization of the 35 percent affirmative action, noting that, “participation of women in governance is not only good for them alone, but healthy for the society.”
He advised the Council to engage the Constitution Review Committee on areas of its proposed amendments as they relate with women issues, such as health, education, violence and discrimination.
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