Bill to Secure More Seats for Women in Parliament Passes 2nd Reading

• July 10, 2024

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 9, passed for a second reading a constitutional amendment bill aiming to reserve additional seats for women in the state and National Assembly. 

Sponsored by Deputy Speaker Hon. Benjamin Kalu, the bill had previously passed in the 9th House but failed to gain concurrence from both chambers, as required for constitutional amendments.

The bill seeks to alter Sections 48 and 49 of  the Constitution to provide reserved seats for women in both the National and State Houses of Assembly, promoting equitable representation and empowering women to contribute actively to legislative processes and national development.

Joshua Gana, one of the sponsors, presented the motion, emphasizing the bill’s goal to address the underrepresentation of women in legislative bodies at both national and sub-national levels. 

The proposed changes would take effect after the current National Assembly term and be reviewed every sixteen years. 

Additional amendments to sections 71, 77, and 117 would establish special constituencies for women, ensuring their direct election and participation in legislative processes at both federal and state levels.

While all speakers supported the bill’s second reading, some members cautioned against passing a law that could conflict with the Constitution’s principles. 

Meanwhile, the bill has move forward to relevant committees for further legislative action.

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