Reps pass bill to reserve 74 seats for women in National Assembly

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The House of Representatives has passed, for third reading, a bill seeking to reserve 74 seats for women in the National Assembly.

The lower legislative chamber voted in favour of the bill during plenary on Tuesday, July 9.

The bill, Politics Nigeria understands, is in a bid to encourage more female participation in politics and governance.

Sponsored by Benjamin Kalu, the deputy speaker, and 12 other lawmakers, the proposed legislation seeks to alter sections 48, 49, 71, and 117 of the constitution to create one “special seat reserved exclusively for women in the senate and house of representatives for each state of the federation and the federal capital territory (FCT)”.

The bill proposes to take effect after the term of the current National Assembly elapses (2027), and is subject to review every 16 years.

The bill also proposes to alter Section 91 of the constitution to provide for three special seats “reserved exclusively” for women in houses of assembly of each state of the federation.

Leading the debate, Joshua Gana, co-sponsor of the bill, said the proposed legislation is aimed at addressing a “profound imbalance and the under-representation of women in the national assembly and at sub-national levels”.

The bill scaled second reading after it was put to a voice vote.

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