By Ikenna Osuoha
UN Women has urged the National Assembly (NASS) to legislate bills that
will not only guarantee gender equality but promote progress of women.
The call is in a statement signed by Ms Comfort Lamptey, the UN Women Representative in Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday.
Lamptey said it was time for Nigeria to heed to the calls of half of its population, the electorate, and adopt similar measures that
would ensure greater representation and participation of women in governance.
She reaffirmed the commitment of UN in promoting gender equality for global development, advising that Nigeria should be at the forefront of the advocacy and legislation.
She said “importantly, Nigeria has an obligation based on international and regional commitments to adopt legislation that will help remove barriers that
prevent current and future generation of women the right to participate in public life.
“Nigeria should also adopt legislations that will make women to enjoy their human rights as full citizens in a democratic state.”
The UN Women Country Representative, who regretted “the rejection of the gender equality bills by NASS in the month of March, designated as women’s rights month, stressed the need to adopt a constitution and other national laws that provided for equal rights and opportunities, including the Special Seats or Proportional Representation System.
She said “the month of March is globally recognised as women’s rights month.
“It is therefore disheartening and ironic that bills relating to the progress of women and the Nigerian nation at large were rejected in the month.”
Lamptey emphasised the imperatives of gender equality laws in Nigeria in line with the country’s standard setting role as a leading democracy in Africa.
She explained: “for Nigeria to meet its deepest aspirations in the race to attain the Sustainable Development Goals targets, investment in women’s leadership
is critical; UN Women remains resolute in our commitment to support Nigeria along this path.”
Lamptey also reiterated the determination of the UN to support the enthronement of women in leadership “as the country heads to the 2023 elections.
“We will support women’s leadership, including that of young women aspiring for political offices and promote a peaceful and enabling environment for women to fully participate as voters and as candidates.
“We will continue to support Nigeria to promote and adopt non-discriminatory and inclusive legislation and policies to build a nation that truly leaves no one behind.
“UN Women, however, commended the courageous Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege in giving women a rightful place in the constitutional amendment process.
“We acknowledge the bold and progressive decision of the Chairman, Senate Constitutional Review Committee and Deputy Senate President, Distinguished Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege in inviting UN Women to support the review process through the deployment of a gender and constitutional reform expert who served as part of the technical team over the past 18 months.
“UN Women further acknowledges all elected members of the National Assembly who voted in favour of bills related to promoting women’s rights in Nigeria.”
She also saluted the women in the National Assembly for sponsoring important bills seeking to promote inclusive and sustainable development.
“Today more than ever, the experiences and expertise of Nigerian women are needed in designing Nigerian laws and policies to make them beneficial to both female and male interests without exclusion or discrimination,” she stated. (NAN)