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Yiaga Africa tasks NASS on gender, equal opportunities bill



Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Ms Cynthia Mbamalu
Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Ms Cynthia Mbamalu

Yiaga Africa, has urged the National Assembly to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill within the shortest possible time.

The Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Ms Cynthia Mbamalu, at a Stakeholders Workshop to Review Legislation on Women and Girls Rights in Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja said the passage of the bill would guarantee more protection and inclusion for women and girls.

Mbamalu said that Nigeria recorded high rate of sexual gender based violence in 2020 as reports indicated that many girls, babies and women were sexually abused.

She said that the passage of the bill was necessary because the current legal framework in the country was weak and not sufficiently enforced and implemented.

She said that the national outcry for a State of Emergency on Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) led to the adoption of Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law in states like Adamawa recently.

“We need states to actually give priority to legislation that enforces and protects the rights of children in Nigeria.

“Beyond having the laws is the question of enforcement, implementation is the question of justice, but the essence of this law is to ensure the survivals of violence actually access justice in due time.

“This conversation supported by the spotlight Initiative is to first bring us as stakeholders to the table to look at the existing law, the VAPP Act, to interact with actors and non-state actors.

“It is time to build support to ensure that the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill currently before the Senate is finally passed by the 9th Assembly.

According to Mbamalu ,National Assembly will resume on Sept.14,so one of the considerations of the Senate should be the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill.

“This is because Nigeria can no longer take the last position within the continent on addressing issues on gender equality and the rights of women and girls,’’ she said.

Mbamalu called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily assent to the bill once it was passed by the 9th Assembly, as part of the legacy he would leave behind because of its strategic importance.

She expressed hope that before the next general elections, progress would have been made on the amendment of the Constitution to ensure protection and guarantee on the rights of the women as well as the passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill.

Mbamalu said that the workshop was aimed at ensuring that the VAPP law was domesticated at state levels and the passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill.

Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, represented by Illiyasu Omar ,an Assistant Director in the ministry commended Yiaga Africa for the initiative .

Tallen reiterated the ministry’s commitment for partnership to tackle the menace of SGBV in Nigeria.

VAPP Coordinator, FCT,Dr Ene Ede, said that she was not happy that some states were yet to domesticate the VAPP Act.
“It is not that it is a foreign law, it is our own law,just to adopt, what is the problem with that?

“ We have yellow colour indicating that seven states that have passed the bill, but their governors have held their assent to themselves,’’ he said

The Assistant Chief Legal Officer, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Ms Mariam Kadiri, said the commission had set up a special panel to investigate cases of SGBV in Nigeria.

She said that the panel consisted of experts in women and gender based violence adding that they were to investigate cases and make appropriate recommendations to government.(NAN)

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Afreximbank’s Kanayo Awani makes Nigeria Women Annual’s “100 Leading Women” list



Mrs. Kanayo Awani - Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative Division

The Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative Division, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, has been named among the 100 outstanding women leaders in Nigeria, according to the list published in the 2022 edition of Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women.

Mrs. Awani’s listing acknowledges her distinguished career and contributions to the development of society.

As Managing Director, Mrs. Awani currently leads the Bank’s efforts in implementing its intra-African trade and industrialisation strategies.

A statement by the bank said she successfully led Afreximbank’s engagement in support of the establishment and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and was the arrowhead for the introduction and organization of the biennial Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), which has delivered trade and investment deals valued at over US$70 billion.

She previously led Afreximbank’s Trade Finance and Branches Department from 2009 to 2016, growing it into the Bank’s most profitable department which accounted for over 80 percent of its loan book.

Mrs. Awani is also the Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of Factors Chain International (FCI), a global factoring association.

“The Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women” is the premier qualitative profiling of phenomenal women who have contributed to the development of Nigeria and the world.

A gender-specific biographical compendium, it responds to existing gender gaps in Nigeria’s biographical documentation and leadership and, in 2022, focused on the most inspirational and influential women whose work contributed to shaping Nigeria’s collective history during the year.

This year’s list includes technology experts, politicians, teachers, activists, development practitioners, C-Suite corporate leaders, and other notable women.

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Gender Bills: Women should not lose hope on their demands – Senate President



Senate President Ahmad Lawan


The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has advised women not to lose hope on their demands for legislations on gender related matters.

Lawan spoke in Agasa in Kogi State on Thursday against the backdrop of some gender related bills that recently failed to scale through at the National Assembly in the ongoing review being carried out on the 1999 Constitution.

Senate President  made a strong case for education of the girl child shortly before he commissioned a 600 capacity JAMB CBT Centre which was facilitated by Senator Yakubu Oseni who is representing Kogi Central Senatorial District.

“I know somebody will say gender bills have failed in the National Assembly. That is democracy. Let’s continue to lobby.

“We should continue to lobby because nobody will like to undermine anybody. Let’s not lose hope.

“Every male member in the National Assembly is a “He for She” because I don’t think there is anybody who is not married in the National Assembly.

“We will continue to work together with gender based organisations especially those that genuinely want to engage with members of the National Assembly because if you are not able to get something, if there is a failure, we should make it a political capital that tomorrow, we say, you were not able to do it yesterday, can you do it today. That will help us in ensuring that we get some of these hurdles out of the way.

“Most of us have our daughters as well. So we know that everybody is one way or the other connected to this struggle but we should not lose hope,” Lawan said.

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Gender Bills: Nigerian Women Continue Protest At NASS For Fifth Day



Nigerian Women protesting at the entry point of National Assembly Complex Abuja


Women under various groups on Thursday continued their protest at the National Assembly gate.

For the fifth day, the women gathered early morning at the National Assembly demanding that lawmakers rescind their decision over rejection of five gender bills in the process of amendment of 1999 constitution.

The protest by the women drawn from various groups started on Wednesday, March 2, and members of the House of Representatives in reaction to their demands, on Tuesday, March 8, rescinded their decision on three of the gender bills.

The women, however, continued the protest demanding the members of the Senate join their House of Representatives in re-visiting the bills.

They also want approval for all the five gender bills.

Among other demands, the women want specific seats in the National Assembly, indigeneship of their husband’s state after five years of being together, and 35% affirmative action for women.

They insist that they will continue to picket the gate of the National Assembly till all their demands are met.

They also threatened to vote out the lawmakers who voted against women in the constitutional review.

They demand that the voting pattern for those bills be released to them so they can mobilse women at all levels of government to vote out the lawmakers who they say took a stand against Nigerian women at the constitutional review.

The groups gathered for the protest include the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWA), Women Organisation for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA), Women In Business (WIMBIZ), Action Aid, Yiaga Africa, the Islamic Youth League, among others.

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