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The House of Representatives has reconsidered three pro-women bills it initially rejected after protests and backlash from Nigerian women.
On the 2nd of March, Document Women reported that women’s groups led by Chioma Agwuegbo and Nimisire Emitomo had occupied the National Assembly, Abuja in protest of the legislators’ refusal to pass pro-women bills.
Some of the demands which were rejected included the ability of Nigerian women to grant citizenship to non-Nigerian husbands and affirmative action for women running for political office.
However, following protests on International Women’s Day, the House of Representatives released a thread on Twitter, announcing its decision to reconsider the rejected bills. The thread promised to reconsider three of the five bills which were rejected.
They include citizenship, indigeneship and the 35 percent affirmative action bills for women.
This decision by the Nigerian Senate was met with criticism from Nigerian women online and also from leading Nigerian feminist groups like Feminist Coalition.
The protests, rallied under the hashtag #WomenOccupyNass, continued on International Women’s Day. On the 8th of March, protests were held in Lagos, Abuja and Calabar and the leaders promised to continue until the demands were met.
While this seems a positive step, it is important to note that it wasn’t all five bills which moved on to reconsideration for voting. The other rejected bills which were not announced for reconsideration are the bills demanding 111 seats for women in the National Assembly and more appointive positions for women in party politics.
At the time of reporting, the #WomenOccupyNass protests are still ongoing and promise to continue until all five bills are fully reconsidered.