A bill that seeks to create 111 additional special seats for women in the National Assembly has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill, which was read for the first time on Thursday, April 22, 2021, sought to alter the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
It would create 37 additional seats are created in the Senate and 74 in the House of Representatives for women if passed into law.
It sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejiocha.
It also required that one additional member from each of the three senatorial districts in the state will be created exclusively for women in each State House of Assembly.
Onyejiocha, who led the debate at the plenary yesterday, said the bill would remedy the low representation of women in legislative houses by providing additional separate seats to be contested and filled by only women in the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly as a temporary measure to promote women’s representation.
She explained that the provision is subjected to a review after four general election cycles of 16 years for the purpose of retaining, increasing or abolishing the temporary measure.
Onyejiocha noted that the Bill consists of six major clauses that sought to alter Sections 48; 49; 71; 77; 91; and 117 of the constitution.
The lawmaker pointed out that in the proposed bill, Section 48 (1)(a) stated that the Senate should consist of three Senators from each State and one from the Federal Capital Territory; and (b) an additional Senator for each State and for the Federal Capital Territory, who shall be a woman.
“Notwithstanding the provision of subsection (1) of this section, nothing shall prevent a woman from contesting for any of the senatorial seats referred to in subsection (1) (a),” she said.
Onyejiocha noted that the provisions of subsection (1) (b) should commence after the current life of the National Assembly and shall be reviewed after 16 years from its commencement notwithstanding any other provision of this constitution.