“It Is ‘un-African’ ” In Enugu, Lawmakers Reject Bill On Equal Opportunity For Both Genders

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Members of the Enugu state House of Assembly, on Tuesday, fiercely rejected a bill on gender equality (equality between men and women) in the state.

The bill, which was named ‘Equal Rights and Opportunities for Men and Women and Other Matters Related Thereto Bill’, was sponsored by chairperson of the House Committee on Gender Affairs, Hon. Nkechi Omeje-Ogbu, a female member of the house representing Nsukka West Constituency, Enugu.

The bill had previously scaled through a the first reading, but it was however, ferociously rejected by the house members during a debate on the matter.

Omeje-Ogbu, who sponsored the bill, explained that if passed, it would protect citizens of the states from all forms of gender-based discrimination.

She said that the bill will aim to promote “protection for women’s bodies, integrity, dignity and would affirm their right to equal opportunities to realise their full potentials.”

She went further to state that the bill is seeking to ensure that women in Enugu are appointed to positions and appointments in the state public service whileadding that marriage, divorce and widowhood should not be used as basis to deny women of their rights.

However, some male members of the House kicked against the bill, describing it as ‘anti-cultural’ and ‘un-African’.

A member of the house, Hon. Sunny Ude-Okoye, said that the bill was not tenable and that ‘here is Africa and not America’.

“I have risen to declare my stand, I have risen to take my stand that this is a colossal waste,” he added.

His position on the matter reechoed that of several of his colleagues, majority of whom are male.

The Bill was, however, saved from outright rejection by the house speaker, Hon. Edward Ubosi, who suggested that the bill should not be killed prematurely but left for reconsideration in the future.

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