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Senator Olujimi wants 30% women representation in ECOWAS Parliament enforced

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Senator Abiodun Olujimi
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Senator Biodun Olujimi, a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament representing Nigeria, has said that the 30 per cent women representation in the Parliament must be enforced, in line with ECOWAS’ gender policy.

She stated this while speaking to journalists at the end of the ECOWAS Parliament’s High-level Seminar at its Second Extraordinary Session in Winneba, Ghana.

Olujimi, representing Ekiti South in the Nigerian Senate, decried the low representation of Nigerian female legislators in the sub-regional Parliament, as compared to their male counterparts.

She said that out of the thirty-five-member Nigerian delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, only two were women, adding that the ECOWAS Parliament must ensure that Member States complied with the provisions of the ECOWAS gender policy.

“It has been a very big issue for us because the eighth National Assembly had about five women in Parliament out of 35. We thought that was low, until we came and found out that we were only two this time.

“And ECOWAS has a gender policy that says at least 30 per cent must be given to the chamber.

“But, Nigeria is a signatory to all forms of protocols from all over the world, but has never been able to domesticate them and make use of the protocols.

“At times I wonder what benefits are in signing protocols when you know that you will not do anything about them.

“I believe that the time has come for ECOWAS to inform the National Assemblies of each of the 15 Member States that a gender policy exists, and that whenever consideration is being made for Parliamentarians, 30 per cent must be given to the female gender.

”And that will also evaporate down the line, because it means that if you are electing people into Parliament in your country, you now know that you must be able to put enough room.

“So that when you get there, you can always get enough to go into ECOWAS or the Commonwealth Parliament. That is essential,” Olujimi said.

The senator also expressed optimism on Nigeria producing a female President in the not too distant future, saying that women were already beginning to gain momentum in the Nigerian political space.

She, however, urged women to continue to support each other, soliciting the support of men to ensure that women seized some of their opportunities.

“I see hope, a bright future, because for a very long time we did not agree we have a problem, we were all busy fighting each other rather than fighting the system that has refused to bring us out.

“But, now we have seen that the system is not willing to do anything for us unless we do it for ourselves and, so, we have started working hard at it.

“In my party, all women came together and said we want Deputy National Chairman and today, they are at the party secretariat, lots of them, returning the form of a woman and saying, you must give us this one.

“By the time we build such movements, people will know that we are not joking. And the minute the parties know we are not joking, then the coast will be clear.

“I see it in the horizon because it is working across political divides,” Olujimi said.

Olujimi, who also intends to run for the Gubernatorial seat in the June 18, 2022, in Ekiti state elections, said she is hopeful she will win.  (NAN)

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Business & Economy

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

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

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

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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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

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

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