JUST IN: Reps make U-turn, rescind votes on rejected gender bills

EMERGENCY DIGEST- The House of Representatives has reversed itself on three gender-related bills that failed to pass in the ongoing amendments to the 1999 Constitution.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, called for a rescission of the votes on the affected bills after the lawmakers held an executive (closed-door) session on Tuesday.

While there are five gender bills, those to be revisited are Bill 36 to “expand the scope of citizenship by registration;” Bill 37 to “provide for affirmative action for women in political party administration;” Bill 38 to “provide criteria for qualification to become an indigene of a state in Nigeria.”

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Those dropped are Bill 35 to “provide for special seat for women in the National and State Houses of Assembly;” and Bill 68 “to give women a quota in the federal and state executive councils or ministerial and commissionership seats.”

Gbajabiamila noted that the three bills would be included in the second batch of amendment bills to be considered in about four weeks’ time.

After the lawmakers unanimously approved the reversal via voice vote, female members of the House as well as some male counterparts gave the Speaker a standing ovation.

The lawmakers in the two chambers had, on Tuesday last week, 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 failed to pass despite that Aisha Buhari, wife to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday last week, stormed the Senate and House chambers in company with female ministers to lobby the lawmakers as the committee laid its report.

Also on Tuesday, Dolapo Osinbajo, wife to the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, accompanied by the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, observed as members of the House voted on the recommendations by the committee, and watched as the lawmakers voted against the gender bills.

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