Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the 9th National Assembly would be sensitive to the issues of gender and ensure more women participation in politics.
Speaking at the 100 Women Lobby Group’s Roundtable in Abuja, Gbajabiamila said there is need to change the nomenclature of the Federal Character to include a Federal Character and Gender Commission.
In a speech titled ‘Women are a priority,’ the Speaker said he was very passionate about finding solutions to the challenges affecting women and the opportunities that appropriate policy and legislation could offer in addressing them.
“We have spent decades talking about the importance of gender equality, equity, and fairness. However, while we speak, the situation gets worse. Anyone who has kept abreast with social media and the scandals that have been unfolding will agree with me that there is a national emergency on women issues.
“I want to assure you and the women of Nigeria that you have my support. I will work to ensure that this 9th Assembly is deliberate in its consideration of policies and legislation that impact women and girls, and this roundtable will be the foundation for a partnership for lasting change,” the Speaker said.
Responding to questions from some of the women at the roundtable, the Speaker said: “Let me acknowledge the fact that you women are fortunate. To champion your course, you have very vibrant women in parliament.
“For me, it’s not just about the quantity, but it’s about the quality. All of you know Hon Nkeiruka Onyeajocha and Hon Aishatu Dukku. They’re women that will champion your cause.
“On the issue of security, I agree that there’s an indirect correlation between security issues and the advancement of women. Just yesterday, I was in Zamfara where six people were released to us, and they’re mostly women.
“We will definitely look at the issues of constituency participation through town hall meetings. We’ll focus on women groups. If you have any proposal, you can send that to us.
“I don’t think we should look at the past. I think we should be looking at the future and move forward and make things better. Once again, let me assure you that the 9th House would be gender sensitive; we will champion your cause.”
Speaking, the National Coordinator, 100 Women Lobby Group, Mrs. Felicia Onibon, said the roundtable was to establish new strategic alliances to develop a comprehensive national blueprint for the expansion of spaces for increased participation of women in politics and governance.
She said the Nigerian women would want an increased to women sensitive policy areas such as health and education as well as greater transparency in oversighting the utilization of appropriated funds and the activities of gender desks in all the ministries to ensure that women are adequately impacted.
While calling for a review of the constitutional provisions and legislation that discriminate against women’s citizenship rights, she also called for a consideration of the gender impact of selected constituency projects.