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Women demand implementation of court judgment on 35% affirmative action



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Nigerian women has called on the federal government to immediately follow through with the implementation of 35% affirmative action for women and equality of the sexes in appointment as demanded by a court judgment.

 They also called on the National Assembly (NASS) to acknowledge and pass all the gender related bills before it.

Co-Plaintiffs led by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) made the call Thursday in Abuja during a world press conference on the groundbreaking judgment on the 35% affirmative action for women.

Its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mufuliat Fijabi, noted that the judgment upheld and mandated the implementation of the provisions of the National Gender Policy (2006) on 35% Affirmative Action in appointive positions.

According to her, the court upheld the equality of the sexes and the constitutional mandate to recognize this in all appointive positions, maintaining that this clearly means that Nigerian women are now accorded 35% affirmative action as a matter of right in line with democratic ethos.

“With this victory, we demand immediate implementation of the judgment of the court. We call on the government to set up implementation framework for the enforcement of this landmark ruling, we demand for all parastatals, agencies and ministerial appointments to henceforth be in compliance with the 35% affirmative action.

“This is the beginning of many victories for women and for our voices in shaping a Nigeria that is truly democratic. We use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian government, to put value where value belongs and follow through with the implementation as demanded by the judgment and to the Nigerian parliament to acknowledge that truly Nigerian women deserve to be honoured with passing all the gender related bills before it.

“We will not rest on our oars as this judgment births the need to intensify our advocacy for inclusiveness in Nigeria at the national, state and at the local government level especially as we head into the 2023 general elections,” she said.

She expressed hope that a new Nigeria will emerge for Nigerian women with the victory, adding that their faith and resilience yielded a new turn in the nation’s trajectory.

Responding, the Minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen, assured of the ministry  commitment to ensuring that the victory is sustained, disclosing that they are also hopeful that all the gender bills will be passed into law when NASS resumes after the Easter break .

“35% is a great landmark, and our struggle is to also be involved in the National Executive Council (NEC) of political parties. We will do everything to sustain this victory and ensure its implementation. The victory came at the time our spirits was low due to the rejection of gender bills but we want to reassure women that all will come through,” she said.

In his remarks, Peter Ocheikwu, of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) said the victory is revolutionary and remains a redefining point in Nigeria’s history, adding that it will reshape the prospects of women’s rights to inclusive and unbiased political participation.