Gender Equality Bill is now Freedom Bill, will go back to Senate – Senator Abiodun Olujimi

Former deputy governor of Ekiti State and senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Mrs Abiodun Olujimi has revisited the issues surrounding the Gender Equality Bill in Nigeria.

The bill, titled “Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence against Women,” was presented by Abiodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti south, during the senate’s plenary session.

According to Mrs Olujimi, the bill would seek equal rights for women in marriage, education and job.

She said if the bill was passed, a widow in Nigeria would automatically become the custodian of her children in the event of the death of her husband, and would also inherit his property.

It would be recalled that the Nigeria Senate in March vehemently opposed the bill seeking equal marital rights for women.

Recall that the Senate Majority leader, Ali Ndume, criticised the bill, and urged Nigerians to stick with either religious or traditional marriage.

Also, Sani Yerima, a senator from Zamfara state, condemned the bill, arguing that it was in conflict with the Nigerian Constitution.

He said the bill negates the principles of the Sharia law, which the constitution recognises.

The bill was defeated when the senate president, Bukola Saraki, put it to vote.

But in a chat with the Sun, the 58-year-old politician said, “The bill was rejected but we thank God it was rejected. Its rejection elicited the interest of international bodies.

“We have dusted it up; it’s now the Freedom Bill.

“It’s been with us since 1985 but it’s been difficult to domesticate it, because it gives 35 percent Affirmative Action to women at all levels and even to little girls regarding enrollment in schools.

“It also ensures that a woman is a woman, no one can molest her, violate her, marry her without her consent and so, it makes life easy for us and we can have all of our issues encapsulated in one Act.

“A woman can say “I’m a woman, you cannot do this to me because I’m a woman.

“We’ve reintroduced it and we believe in the next two weeks it will go back to the Senate.

“We have done enough advocacies, and we believe it would sail through,” Olujimi added.

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