Ohakim Calls For Reconsideration Of Gender Bills Rejected By NASS

Former First Lady of Imo State, Barr. Chioma Ohakim, has called on the National Assembly to immediately reconsider the Gender Bills it rejected during the voting on constitution amendment Bills, and pass them without delay.

Mrs Ohakim, who served as First Lady from May 2007 to 2011 while Dr. Ikedi Ohakim held sway as governor of Imo State, made the disclosure in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP.

Ohakim, who is the founder of Women and Youth Initiative (EWAYI), condemned the federal lawmakers for refusing the gender bills, saying “I join other well-meaning Nigerian women to condemn the action of the 9th National Assembly for refusing to support women’s inclusion in political spaces across Nigeria.”

She explained that as a woman passionate about the improvement of people and society, she wanted the leadership of the National Assembly to rally its members to ensure the total elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against women.

Mrs Ohakim expressed worry that women who constitute 49 per cent of the entire Nigeria population were denied equal opportunities, adding that, “It is painful that Nigerian women who constitute 49 percent of the entire population are considered lesser beings and should be denied inclusion just because of their gender.”

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According to her, it was painful that 61 years after independence, “Nigerian women and girls still grapple with gross violation of human rights, poverty, lack of inclusion, and varying forms of discrimination which are clear indices of violence.”

She queried why the National Assembly voted against specific seats for women, 35% appointive positions for women, 35 per cent affirmative action in party administration and leadership, indigene-ship rights after five years of marriage for non-Nigerian born women, and denial of citizenship to the foreign-born husband of a Nigerian woman, among several others.

She stated support for the protests by women on the issue, saying: “Even as women are peaceful and law-abiding, I wish to state that I will partake in all forms of protests to address this gender-based violence.”

She lamented that Nigerian women and girls suffer religious, political and cultural discriminations, which has resulted in female genital mutilation, girl-child labour, domestic violence, gender-based violence, bodily rights, polygamy, restricted access to political participation, religious restrictions, underpaid wages, lack of access to quality healthcare, kidnapping, ritual killings, insecurity, insurgency, internal displacement, covid-19, and several other discriminations.

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She maintained that the world over, women are considered an integral part of the population and play major roles in the development of those countries even as Nigerian women have worked tirelessly to support the development of the country.

Mrs Ohakim noted that the constitution guarantees freedom from all forms of discrimination while the universal declaration of human rights guarantees the right to equality, freedom from torture and degrading treatment, right to recognition as a person before the law, right to equality before the law, and right to remedy by a competent tribunal, amongst others

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