Nigerian lawmakers reject bill seeking gender equality

Dec 16, 2021, 10:24 AM | Updated: 10:40 am

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian senators have for the third time in five years rejected a bill that sought to promote gender equality, citing “socio-cultural and Islamic concerns.”

The proposed law was dropped after some lawmakers in the country’s upper legislative chamber, mostly northern Muslims, argued that the bill went against their interpretation of their religion’s principles.

The bill would have criminalized discrimination on the basis of gender or marital status, and also was aimed at improving enforcement of existing laws against gender-based violence.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is deeply divided along religious and ethnic lines. Women rarely make it to top positions of power, and only 7% of nation’s senators are women.

Among them is the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Biodun Olujimi from Ekiti state in southern Nigeria, who said the proposed law would stem a tide of gender-based violence against women.

Cynthia Mbamalu, program manager at YIAGA Africa, a nonprofit leading the campaign for the legislation’s passage, called its latest defeat “a major setback on our path towards a more developed society.”

The reason senators gave for rejecting the bill “shows the Senate is yet to appreciate the importance of advancing equality of all citizens,” Mbamalu said Thursday. “It means our country is not ready to realize its full potentials for the benefits of all citizens.”

Many of the senators who opposed the legislation during a plenary session on Wednesday said their resistance was strictly a religious issue.

“Equating opportunities actually infringes on the provisions of the Quran…and also the Bible,” argued Sen. Yusuf Yusuf, who is from Taraba state in northern Nigeria. “If we have it as ‘Gender Opportunities Bill,’ fine. But when you bring equality into it, it infringes into the practice of the Islamic religion.”

Others echoed his concern, prompting the sponsoring senator to change the bill’s title from “Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill” to “Gender Equity Bill.”

Opponents nevertheless blocked the bill from going forward.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said lawmakers see the need for gender equity in Nigeria but acknowledged a need for “further consultations” on the bill.

Olujimi, the bill’s sponsor, vowed to make another attempt, saying she had the support of 62 of the 108 senators.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Federal court rejects Mississippi student’s racial bias suit

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A lawsuit alleging a school district in a small Mississippi Delta town discriminated against a Black student and stripped her of an academic award has been dismissed by a panel of federal judges. Olecia James filed the federal lawsuit in 2019 against the Cleveland School District, claiming officials prevented her from […]
18 hours ago
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Friday,...
Associated Press

Pence says he didn’t leave office with classified material

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that he didn’t take any classified information with him when he left office. Pence made the comment during an interview with The Associated Press in Iowa a week and a half after the FBI seized classified and top secret information during a search […]
18 hours ago
(AP Photo/Richard Drew)...
Associated Press

Don’t dawdle with latest iPhone update. Here’s why and how

Apple released an upgrade Wednesday to close a security hole that could allow hackers to seize control of iPhones and several other popular Apple products.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Construction set to begin on first US Coast Guard Museum

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — Construction is set to begin on a long-awaited national museum that will honor the U.S. Coast Guard. A special keel-laying ceremony, a term that’s usually used to celebrate construction of a cutter, was held on Friday at the museum’s riverfront site in New London, Connecticut, about 40 miles south of […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

3rd attempted murder charge filed in shooting of Indiana cop

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — Prosecutors have filed a third attempted murder charge against a man accused of shooting an eastern Indiana police officer in the head during a traffic stop and search for possible narcotics. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office filed the new charge against Phillip Matthew Lee, 47, of Richmond for shooting at a […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Tanker truck in Yellowstone spills nearly 5K gallons of gas

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. (AP) — A tanker truck hauling gasoline in Yellowstone National Park rolled over Friday and spilled an estimated 4,800 gallons (18,200 liters). Officials were investigating whether any of the unleaded gas entered an area creek. The truck’s driver lost control of the rig during the early morning accident along Highway 191, which […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Nigerian lawmakers reject bill seeking gender equality