Some women’s groups, civil society organisations and other stakeholders, under the aegis of Legal Strategy Team, have said they are going to court to seek constitutional clarification on the position of the law on the inclusion of women in the country’s democratic process.
They said in a statement in Abuja that the litigation process will commence on 2 December 2020, at the Federal High Court Maitama, Abuja and was to achieve a milestone on the interpretations of the laws on women’s inclusion in leadership and decision-making positions in Nigerian governance process.
The six co-plaintiff organisations on behalf of the coalition are Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA), Nigeria Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Centre For Democracy and Development (CDD- WEST AFRICA), Women Advocates Research And Documentation Centre (WARDC), Vision Spring Initiatives (VSI) and Women In Politics Forum (WIPF).
“Nigeria since independence is yet to record equal participation of women in Nigeria’s governance process at all levels. The return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999 has not improved the level of inclusion of women at all levels as the proportion of women in both elective and appointive positions has remained low.
“This is despite the 2006 National Gender Policy and the various regional and international instruments that the government has signed on to,” they said.
According to them, Nigerian women and other critical stakeholders have continued to mobilize and strategize to seek interpretations of the 1999 Constitution as amended with the sole objective of getting legal backing for a deliberate inclusive governance in Nigeria.
They lament that various Nigerian governments since independence and since the return of democracy have been reluctant to improve gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions despite a formal support for it through the National Gender Policy (2006) which recommends a benchmark of 35 percent in all sectors.
They said that a national WOMANIFESTO has also been adopted by Nigerian women seeking for a full recognition of gender equality in governance.
They also complained that several bills have been rejected by the National Assembly on the grounds that they compromise provisions on the interpretations of culture and religion, including the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill among others.