The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affiars, Mrs. Anthonia Ekpa, has given further insights into the decision by the Minister of women affairs Dame Pauline Tallen, to back the proposal to include gender as a benchmark for federal character and related matters.
In a statement, the Minister declared in the just concluded National Public Hearing on the proposed alteration to the provision of the 1999 Constitution, that the Ministry does not only fully back the proposal to include gender as a benchmark for federal character and related matters, but also supports the creation of additional special seats for women in the Federal and State Legislative Houses.
Represented at the Public Hearing by the Per Sec, Dane Pauline Tallen insisted that it is time for an inclusive Nigeria Constitution, adding that there is need for a Constitution that Nigeria Women want.
According to Mrs. Ekpa, the renewed agitations became necessary to ensure equity, stressing that women’s political representation is still below 10%.
“Women need to be represented both at the National and sub-National levels, first be recognizing the use of gender – neutral and sensitive language. Masculine languages are gender bias and undermine women and girls’ political participation which hinders inclusive government stating that Nigeria electoral position shows male dominance”.
Other Areas of concern by the Ministry include: Section 48 of the Principal Act be altered by substituting the existing section 48 with a new section “48”: Composition of the Senate: The Senate shall consist of:
b. three Senators from each State and one from the Federal Capital Territory; and c. an additional Senator for each State and for the Federal Capital Territory, who shall be a woman.
“Section 49 of the Principal Act be altered by substituting the existing section 49 with a new section “49”: Composition of the House of Representatives: c. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the House of Representatives shall consist of: d. three hundred- and sixty-members representing constituencies of nearly equal population as far as possible provided that no constituency shall fall within more than one State; and e. two additional members for each State and for the Federal Capital Territory, who shall be women”.
Others include that Section 71 of the Principal Act be altered by inserting immediately after sub-sections (1) (a) and (b), new subsections “(2)” and “(3)”:
Mrs Anthonia Ekpa furthre explained that for the purpose of section 49 of the Constitution, the Independent National Electoral Commission shall divide each State of the Federation into two Federal constituencies to be occupied by women.