The senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Senator Stella Oduah, on Thursday criticised her colleagues in the red chamber for shutting down the gender equality and opportunity bill.
The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi from Ekiti South, seeks to promote equal opportunities, advancement of all persons, prohibition of violence against women among many others.
Unfortunately, many male senators mainly from the northern part of the country, opposed the bill when it was read for the second time in the senate on Tuesday.
The opposition to the bill, was led by the likes of Senators Ibn Na’allah (Kebbi South), Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South) and the former Zamfara State governor, Ahmed Sanni Yerima.
The arguments were on the grounds that it was both anti-lslamic and unconstitutional.
But Oduah while reacting to the development in a statement in Abuja, urged understanding from Nigerians, particularly her colleagues that the bill is not an issue bordering on patriarchy.
She noted that women are first of all human beings who have rights, before their ultimate role as mothers and therefore should be allowed equal opportunities.
The lawmaker who appealed for a relaunched of the bill, urged that it is pertinent that all the stakeholders join forces to enlighten Nigerians on how vital the bill is to our progress as a modern State.
She recalled that as a nation, Nigeria endorsed the, “United Nations Convention On The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.”
She noted that it was time, that the country domesticated the UN convention.
Oduah also appealed to Nigerians to see mainstreaming of women programmes not as favours, but as what is right.
She also said the country should go beyond empowering of women to empowering the society since it is not in doubt that Nigeria has untapped potentials in women which must be explored.
She said, “Women have wonderful innate skills and we must provide enabling environment for growth and full development of their potentials.”
She described as unacceptable, the fact that the country was still discussing equal right for women in 2016.
She emphasized the indispensable role of women in nation building.
The senator said, “It is also no longer news that women are the bedrock of governance and should be allowed equal opportunities to represent the true meaning of their existence.