According to Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who represents Abia South Senatorial District in the senate, many senators turned down the Gender Equal Opportunities Bill because they feared it will turn some women to prostitutes and lesbians.
The bill which was turned down by the senate on March 15th, was designed to address women’s freedom of movement, female economic activity, girls’ access to education, equal rights for women in marriage, divorce, property/land ownership and inheritance, appropriate measures against gender discrimination in political and public life and prohibitions of violence to women.
According to Premium Times, Abaribe said this while speaking at a forum on political rights of women in Nigeria organised by the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) in Abuja yesterday.
“The bill was defeated at the second reading when its details were highlighted to the senators. Some lawmakers started expressing deep worries about some parts of the bill that they think could give women too much freedom and lead them to prostitution, lesbianism and other social vices.
The reason why we’re here is that we think that we should be able to restrategise, we should be able to look at the bill again and see those contentious areas we may need to modify. We should be able to find those critical constituencies within the senate that we must have to address. We should be able to look at the narrative of the bill and how it is being presented to the public and change that narrative and make it a positive narrative. For example, the bill is not a north versus south bill.
The bill is not a Christian versus Muslim bill. The bill is not a male versus female bill. The bill simply seeks to extend to every Nigerian all the rights that are they should enjoy. And if women by virtue of our culture, by virtue of our historic antecedents are being behind, then we need to also drag them into the economy by giving them every right that they can use to be productive members of the society and that is all that we’re trying to do.”he said.