Six months after a bill seeking to quarantee women equal rights with men was thrown out, a modified version of the bill has passed through the crucial second reading on the floor of the Senate yesterday.

It suffered a humiliating fate at its first introduction a few months earlier as some male lawmakers strongly opposed the bill.

They noted that enacting a law to accord women equal rights with men was in conflict with the country’s religious and cultural beliefs.
The leading debate on the bill, its main sponsor, Senator Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South), expressed hope that the bill, when passed, would ensure the elimination of discrimination against women in education, employment, profession and occupation.
She added that it would also prohibit all forms of violence against women irrespective of their religion or ethnicity.
The lawmaker stated that Section 4 of the bill prohibits all forms of discrimination against any person on account of gender, age and disability through spoken words, acts, rules, customs and practices by any person or institution.
She expressed hope that it would receive favorable responses from her colleagues as her Lagos counterpart, Oluremi Tinubu, supported the move.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, is of the opinion that the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters should examine the bill closely to make sure its provisions do not conflict with existing laws.
However, the Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, disagreed with the Deputy Senate President.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative work.
The committee has been directed to present a report on the bill in four weeks.

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