Proceedings at the ongoing National Conference were halted for 15 minutes on Wednesday when women in the conference protested attempt by members to vote against application of the affirmative action demanding that 35% of elective offices at all levels be reserved for women.
A press statement signed by Assistant Secretary Media and Communication, Mr. Akpandem James noted that as soon as delegates voted to reduce the percentage from 35% to 30%, all the women in the hall including some men stood up, started singing and threatened a walk-out if the decision was not reversed.
When the hall was eventually called to order, some of the male delegates including former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, spoke in favour of 35%. They stated that the matter was already an existing government policy.
At this point, it was unanimously decided that since the practice was already in existence and on-going, it should be allowed to remain. Instantly, some female delegates started asking for increase to 40%.
Conference also decided that the Federal Government should put into effective use, the National Policy on Women adopted in 2004 which was replaced with the National Gender Policy in 2006.
Government was also asked to draft for passage and implementation, a Bill on the Abolition of all Forms of Discrimination against Women in Nigeria to address the issue of discrimination and violence against women and maltreatment of widows.
Delegates adopted a recommendation that government should legislate to prohibit installation of telecommunication mast in residential neighbourhood and to prohibit other practices that negatively impact on health including female genital mutilation.