WILPF Nigeria was active in collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs through the working political group established in providing opportunities for women groups in Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Plateau, Imo and Ondo state of Nigeria to participate in the review of the Nigerian 1999 constitution which was held in May 25th to 28th 2021 simultaneously in each state.
WILPF Nigeria made provisions for a total of 10 women from Cross River and Ebonyi state to participate in the zonal hearings at Rivers state and Enugu state. WILPF Nigeria also made provisions for 30 women each in Plateau, Enugu, Imo and Ondo state of Nigeria who visited the state’s National Assembly and House of Representatives calling for a change in the constitution on issues of women’s participation in elections and politics.
The below are the agreed summit which the women group participated in.
1. Ensure gender-neutral and sensitive language in our Constitution. Masculine languages are gender-biased and undermine women and girls’ political participation, which further hinders inclusive governance in Nigeria.
2. Ensure equitable women representation in government, through at least 35% women representation in appointive offices at the Federal and State levels. To ensure equitable women representation in government, it is important the Constitution is reviewed to provide for at least 35% women representation in appointive offices at the Federal and State levels. This will begin with an amendment of section 14 subsection (3) that prohibits predominance of persons from a few states, ethnic or sectional groups in the composition of the government and its agencies to also introduce a prohibition of the predominance of any sex in the composition of the government and its agencies. Also, to introduce in Section 14 (4) the equitable representation of both sexes in the composition of government at a state, Local government councils, or any of it is agencies. Other sections for reference include sections 147(3), 171(5), 192(2), 208 (4).
3. Include Gender as a benchmark for Federal Character. The Constitution has already created the Federal Character as an Affirmative Action Mechanism that ensures the representation of marginalized groups in the country. To achieve this, alter Section 14 by: substituting for subsection (3), a new subsection “(3)”: The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in as manner as to reflect the diversity of Nigeria along the lines of federal character and gender diversity and the need to promote national unity, and also command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there shall be predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic, linguistic or religious groups or of persons of one gender in that Government of in any of its agencies.
4. Create additional special seats for women in the Federal and State Legislative Houses:
a. In Senate: one seat for a woman from the 36 states and the Federal Capital
b. In the House of Representatives: two seats for women from the 36 states and the Federal Capital
c. In the States’ House of Assembly: one seat from each of the three senatorial districts in the State.
WILPF Nigeria is a registered national and non-partisan not for profit organization created in 2008 in response to a country faced with multidimensional problems related to women’s discrimination and challenges to their participation in peace and security.