Senator Abiodun Olujimi, the Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate, is the legislator that presented the Gender Equality Bill which has generated so much furore since its rejection by the Senators at the second reading.
Senator Abiodun Olujimi, who is representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District, said the bill is not new but an international law that she was just trying to incorporate into Nigerian laws. She said she is confident the bill will be passed into law after the contentious areas would have been resolved through dialogue and compromise…
What is this Gender Equality Bill all about?
It is not a new bill. It is about elimination of all discriminations against women. It is an international law already. What we are trying to do is to incorporate it into our own laws. But it’s like the men are angry about some aspects of it.
Why are the men angry?
They said Islam had taken care of the issue of inheritance. They did not like the aspect of the law which says every female child should be treated like a male child. On the issue of inheritance, they said Islam has settled it and they are happy with it. They said we should leave the issue of election and employment of women at 35 percent. That is the main thing they are against in the bill.
What are you going to do now that the bill has been thrown out at the second reading?
The wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki has taken it up and we are mobilizing. We are going to look at the bill again. We will look critically at the contentious issues and see if we can mellow it down so that it can be passed into law.
Certainly, there must be elimination of violence against women. There must also be elimination of child marriage. Anybody who takes a child in marriage must be liable to one year jail term.
We are going to take it up again. The uproar has been too much. We are going to look into the contentious issues and by the grace of God. We will re-present it.
Are you sure it will be passed into law before the expiration of the tenure of this Senate?
By the grace of God.
- TOLANI ABATTI