The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a revised National Gender Policy to promote gender equality, good governance and accountability across the three tiers of government in the country.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, made the disclosure when she briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting, presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja on Wednesday.
The approval came a day after the National Assembly failed to pass about five bills aimed at promoting more opportunities for women in politics, governance and in the society at large, while voting on the proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution.
According to the minister, the policy represents a set of minimum standards expected of Nigerian government to meet its mandate for gender equality, good governance, accountability and being socially responsive to the needs of its vulnerable group.
She said: “Today, the Ministry of Women Affairs presented a memo on the National Gender Policy to the Federal Executive Council. This memo is a revised National Gender Policy 2021 – 2026.
“It represents a set of minimum standards expected of Nigerian government to meet its mandate for gender equality, good governance, accountability and being socially responsive to the needs of its vulnerable group.
“Equity remains the foundation of the core principles of agenda 2030 which says ‘Leave no one behind’.
“I want to put on record that Mr President has done so much to support women through numerous pro-woman projects.
“This memo today that has been approved by council has gone again to clearly state the fact that Mr President is committed to make a difference as far as women issues are concerned.
“This has also come at the right time. I’m sure you’re all aware that the whole month of March is set aside by the international community to United Nations to celebrate activities that concern women and women’s contribution towards national development.’’
The minister thanked the president on behalf of all Nigerian women for ensuring the approval of the policy “at this time as we celebrate the International Women’s Day.’’
On National Assembly’s rejection of the bill which sought extra legislative seats for women, and Affirmative Action for Women in Political Parties’ Administration, Mrs Tallen urged Nigerians to pray for the members of Parliament, describing their action as “show of shame”.
She threatened to mobilise Nigerian women to strategise during the 2023 election.
“I urge all Nigerians to help us pray for the men that killed this bill yesterday in the National Assembly,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that bills failed to garner the required number of votes to scale through during the clause-by-clause consideration at the ongoing constitution amendment at both chambers in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The lawmakers had voted against the bill to create special seats for women in the national and state assemblies
They also voted against a bill which seeks provision for affirmative action for women in political parties’ administration.
Mrs Tallen maintained that the decision to turn down the proposed legislations was unfortunate.
She, however, expressed optimism that there would be light at the end of the tunnel.
“It clearly shows that the men that were against the bill don’t have any respect for women, it’s clear.
“But I am not generalising, not all the men in the National Assembly. We have the figures, 72 men in the House of representative voted in support of the bill.
“So, I’m not generalising. We are saying that, for those that don’t believe in it, we will continue to intensify advocacy for them to believe in gender equality, and the role that women can play when they are on the decision table to make Nigeria better.
“I want to assure you, that all hope is not lost. I have reassured Nigerian women that we should not be daunted, we should remain resilient. And we have already put in place strategies.
“Last night we all met the key civil society organisations and other women activists.
“We are strategising with the female members in both Houses of National Assembly. And I want to assure you, that Nigeria women will not give up, we’ll keep pushing until we achieve the affirmative action.’’
Meanwhile, the Minister of Humanitarian affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, disclosed that the Council approved the National Policy for the Protection and Assistance of Trafficked Persons and the Protocol for Identification, Safe Return and Rehabilitation of Traffic Persons in Nigeria.
“These memos are very essential to what the NAPTIP does, that is the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, and they will help to guide our work and action as regards to the protection and assistance of trafficked persons,’’ she said.
Laolu Akande, the media aide to the Vice-President, also told the correspondents that the Council approved N1.19 billion for the supply and installation of two sets of complete high-capacity passenger security screening systems for the Murtala Mohammed International Airports, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
“There was also approval gotten by the Aviation Minister for the supply and installation of airfield ground lightning materials for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and also the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano at the sum of N2,329,961,099.60,’’ he added.