The Gender and Equality Opportunities Bill, which aims to eliminate every form of discrimination against women and people living with disabilities, has gotten second reading in the Senate.
The sponsor of the bill, 64-year-old Senator Biodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti South, noted that if the bill is signed into law, it will motivate women to aspire and reach their full potential.
On Wednesday, 31 May 2023, the Senate passed the Gender Bill for the second reading. The objective of this bill is to eradicate all forms of discrimination against women and individuals with disabilities. Senator Biodun Olujimi, the sponsor of the bill, a former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State and representative of Ekiti South underscored the value of the bill when it becomes law, as it will inspire women to aspire and achieve their full potential.
Olujimi, in 2021, was asked to withdraw the legislation after some of her colleagues raised arguments that it goes against their socio-cultural and religious beliefs.
It is worth noting that in 2021, Senator Olujimi, who was Deputy to Governor Peter Ayo Fayose between 29 May 2003 and 16 October 2006, was asked to withdraw the legislation following objections from some of her colleagues who argued that it contradicted their socio-cultural and religious beliefs. However, she persevered, and the bill has now progressed to the second reading.
“The bill seeks to implement section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It also seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women,” the Minority Whip explained. “It will ensure the equality of opportunities for every person.”
Buttressing her point, the former broadcaster and journalist who worked for The Nigerian Tribune and the Nigerian Television Authority, said: “You will find this bill beneficial for the clear and constructive ways the bill seeks to address several forms of issues bedevilling men and women in their constituencies in issues of land ownership, inheritance, education, employment and the rising tide of sexual and gender-based violence in private and public spaces of institutions of learning.
“The bill further consolidates senate’s courageous passage of the bill on sexual violence in higher institutions in Nigeria, assuring girls, women and men of protection from abuse and exploitation in our schools,” Olujimi added.
It would be recalled that Biodun Olujumi was sworn into the Nigerian Senate on 14 November 2019. She once accused her former principal and former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, of manipulating the electoral process at the Ekiti State PDP ward congress. That was in 2020. About a year later in March 2021 Senator Olujimi told reporters that she was nearly shot when a bye-election to fill a position for Ekiti East Constituency 1 in the State House of Assembly turned violent.