The Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar O Sulaiman has expressed optimism that all the gender bills in the current fifth alteration of the 1999 Constitution will be favourably considered and passed by all the State Assemblies.
The Bills in question include the bill to expand the scope of citizenship by registration (to confer Nigerian citizenship on foreign spouses of Nigerian women), the bill to provide qualification for State indigeneship rights and the bill for affirmative action for women in appointive positions in the Federal and State Executive cabinets.
Even when the bill for affirmative action for women in appointive positions had suffered setback in both chambers of the National Assembly, Sulaiman still holds the belief that the gender bills will scale through at the State level and eventually passed.
The NILDS’ boss expressed this optimism when he declared open a one-day capacity workshop on strengthening gender-responsive budgeting for staff of the National Assembly and the Institute in Abuja on Monday.
The workshop was jointly organized by UN Women and the Parliamentary institute.
Prof. Sulaiman said the Institute under his watch will remain committed to working with UN Women in the key areas of its mandate which include drafting gender sensitive bills and mainstreaming gender in all of its capacity building activities.
He said the workshop will further strengthen legislature’s institutional capacity to make positive impact on the budget, and to equip lawmakers and parliamentary support staff with the required skills to evaluate budgets from a gender perspective.
“Suffice it to say that this workshop is part of the Institute’s broader collaboration with UN Women to promote gender equity in Nigeria through effective legislative measures.”
“In addition to capacity strengthening, together we intend to develop legislative templates and guides on all aspects of legislative work, including oversight as well as undertake legislative advocacy with key stakeholders including leadership of the National Assembly and legislative caucuses to promote gender issues.”.
In his response, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women, Lansana Wonneh harped on the need for Nigeria to close the wide gap of gender inequality in the country so that it can reap the benefits of the full potential of both sides of the divide.
According to him, what currently obtains in Nigeria is not an egalitarian society.
He rued the statistics that clearly gives greater opportunities in business, agriculture and politics to men while neglecting women.
He asked that more legislative efforts should be taken to quickly address the disparity and level of gender inequality in the country.
“Legislatures are key and that is why we see our partnership with NILDS as being very important. Looking forward, we hope that those lawmakers who make budgets are able to do so with equitable eye and those with the capacity”.
Credit: Omor Bazuaye