The Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill did not pass second reading at the floor of the National Assembly yesterday despite strong hopes that Nigeria’s Eight National Assembly would rise to the occasion.
Like many developing countries, the Nigerian society largely marginalizes women and the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill sought to give legal protection to women from such marginalization in Nigeria,
Broken into three parts, the first part of the bill contains ‘sections covering all forms of discrimination against women’ while the second part ‘Provides for the establishment of an Equal Opportunities Commission’ and the final section seeks to ‘ seeks to enforce the National Gender Policy.’
Many of the Senators who voted against the bill voted on the basis of religion and their refusal to pass the bill has been met with public outrage. One of the most important portions of the bill is the prohibition of discrimination against widows and granting them rights to inherit property.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has said that some sections of the bill did not sit well with some of the Senators and that the bill might still be passed by the National Assembly if it is redrafted and then re-presented on the floor of the house.