Gender bills: I felt bad that we did not pass gender bills – Ahmad Lawan

Gender bills: I felt bad that we did not pass gender bills – Ahmad Lawan

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has expressed sadness that members of the National Assembly voted against all the five gender bills that sought to promote more opportunities for women in political parties, governance and the society at large.

He however, said all hope was not lost, advocating for a different strategy to be adopted and more lawmakers should be engaged to push for the passage of the bills in the 10th Assembly

The five bills the lawmakers rejected in March 2022 include: a bill to create additional seats for women to increase women’s representation in the national assembly – this bill will lead to a significant increase in the number of women in the parliament, which currently stands at five percent; second, a bill to enable Nigerian women to transfer citizenship to foreign husbands, a right that every Nigerian man married to a foreign spouse enjoys; third, a bill to ensure affirmative action of at least 35% in political party administration and appointive positions across federal and state levels; fourth, a bill to provide a minimum of 20% of ministerial or commissioner nominees are women; fifth, a bill to allow a woman to become an indigene of her husband’s state after five years of marriage.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen had described their action as shameless.

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Asked how he felt that the gender bills were thrown out, Lawan said: “First of all, when the bills five of them that concern woman were not voted for by the National Assembly. I think naturally, there are things that we assume could happen. But they didn’t happen the way we wanted them. But remember that even bills that concern the National Assembly were killed.

“There are bills that concern the National Assembly itself, that did not see the light of the day. I felt bad that we could not pass even one. But then we shouldn’t really lose hope we should continue to campaign, we should talk to more members of the National Assembly. And we should also re strategize.

Maybe the kind of campaign that was undertaken may not be necessarily the one that will give you the kind of outcome that we needed. But I’m very confident that we should continue to campaign for issues that we have not been able to get


Let me give you an example. The mayor for FCT, almost every constitutional amendment period the mayor of FCT will surface. But it has not been passed. Does that mean that we shouldn’t continue to ask for mayor for FCT by those that feel there should be a mayor? No!

“And there are issue that concerned National Assembly itself that were not really passed. So I felt bad that we couldn’t pass any of them. But I’m also very optimistic that if we re-strategize, look at the way we campaign we could get either all of them or some of them passed in the next assembly by the grace of God.”

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Lawan noted that he has no regrets over his actions as Senate President even though he conceded that there are things he could not satisfactorily deal with.

Asked whether he as any regrets, he answered: “No no, no, no, no, no, you can’t say regrets. We can only say there are things that we have not been able to satisfactorily deal with. And this is natural, because one we don’t have sufficient funds

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“Two, as human beings, there are areas that naturally whatever you do, you may not get it right. But it’s for us to identify those areas, go back and rework them and this administration as it winds up a new one, an APC administration is coming in to take over and by the grace of God will have a national assembly that is also APC.

“So, we will continue to work on those areas that we need to improve. So, I am not going to talk about what areas because the time we have here is very limited.”

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