The Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill was sponsored by Senator Biodun Christine Olujimi from Ekiti South Senatorial District. It seeks to deplete all forms of violence against women including sexual abuse and discrimination and aimed at promoting equality, development and advancement of all persons in Nigeria as well as promoting women’s freedom of movement, female economic activity and girls’ access to education.
Some lawmakers like Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president, Senator Ibn Na’allah representing Kebbi south senatorial district, Ibrahim Gobir representing Sokoto east senatorial district pledged their support for the passage of the bill.
Senator Sani Yerima, from Zamfara state, kicked against the bill, arguing that it was in conflict with the Nigerian constitution. He explained that the bill negates the principles of the Sharia law, which the constitutions regards. Senate President Bukola Saraki put the bill to a vote, to which the opposing senators shouted a thunderous “nay”, and subsequently had their way.
Other senators who opposed the bill are Adamu Aliero, a senator from Kebbi state, who argued that its provisions are inconsistent with Sharia law, and Emmanuel Bwacha, a senator from Taraba south who said that bill negates provisions of the constitution.
A similar bill was presented at the 7th senate by Chris Anyanwu, a former senator from Imo east, but it was rejected as well. Sen. Yerima, former governor of Zamfara state, played a pivotal role in the rejection of Anyanwu’s bill back then. He was also the frontman of the opposition against the bill today