The House of Representatives has revised its position on three gender-related bills that initially failed to pass procedural votes in the ongoing amendments to the 1999 constitution.
According to reports, Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker, called for rescinding of votes on the affected bills after the lawmakers held an executive (closed-door) session on Tuesday.
While there are five gender-related bills, those that would be reexamined include bill 36, which seeks to “expand the scope of citizenship by registration”, bill 37, which is meant to “provide for affirmative action for women in political party administration”, and bill 38, which is to “provide criteria for qualification to become an indigene of a state in Nigeria”.
Those dropped are bill 35, which seeks to “provide for a special seat for women in the national and state houses of Assembly;” and bill 68, which is “to give women a quota in the federal and state executive councils or ministerial and commissionership seats”.
Gbajabiamila said the three bills would be included in the second batch of amendment bills scheduled to be examined in about four weeks.
After the legislators unanimously supported the reversal by voice vote, the speaker received a standing ovation from female members of the House and some of their male colleagues.
On March 2, the lawmakers in the two chambers voted on the 68 recommendations by the Joint Senate and House Special Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution.
The gender bills were blocked despite the fact that Aisha Buhari, the president’s wife, stormed the Senate and House chambers last Wednesday alongside female ministers to persuade legislators as the committee submitted its report.