Reps reject more seats for women, life pension for presiding members

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

The House of Representatives has voted against a bill seeking to create additional seats for women in the National and States Assemblies.

The bill, which is part of the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution, was rejected when it was put to voting on the floor of the Green Chamber on Tuesday.

Two hundred and nine members rejected it while eighty one voted in its favour.

The bill was sponsored by Nkeiruka Onyejeocha from Abia State and 85 other lawmakers.

It sought to alter some sections of the 1999 constitution that stipulate the composition of the Senate, House of Representatives and state houses of assembly.

It also sought to create two federal constituency seats reserved only for women.

Section 48 (1b) of the bill seeks the provision of “an additional senator for each state and for the federal capital territory, who shall be a woman”.

Section 49 (1b) would also provide for “two additional members for each state and for the federal capital territory, who shall be women”.

Onyejeocha had argued before her colleagues that women only occupied five per cent of the seats in the National Assembly.

Onyejeocha said more than 130 countries have adopted different measures (or quota system) to address women’s under-representation.

The lower house also voted against Bill 16 which proposed life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly, in the ongoing amendment to the 1999 Constitution.

While 162 members voted for the provision, 193 voted no and three others abstained.

The votes failed to meet the required two-thirds or 240 of the 360 members of the House.

The beneficiaries would have included President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy President of the Senate, and Deputy Speaker of the House.

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