By Musa Adamu
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Women in Nigeria (WiN) have condemned what the termed the ongoing unfair and undemocratic agitations to undermine the nation’s emerging efforts at attaining inclusive, participatory and equal opportunity in both public and private spheres.
According to a statement signed by Auwal Ibrahim Musa, Executive Director, CISLAC and Ms. Chioma Kanu, WIN, the ongoing agitation by some people to push out Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa as Chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Panel was a case in point.
It said the reasons behind the agitation was a baseless political reason and unjustified ground that her spouse was a member of a political party.
It said the two groups were known for working assiduously to advocate for gender equity and inclusiveness in appointive and elective positions with the view of achieving full implementation of the 35% Affirmative Action for Women by governments at all levels.
It said: “This is in compliance with the African Union’s Protocol on the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights, as ratified by member nations including Nigeria, as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which was also ratified by Nigeria.”
They said they were concerned on the “continued marginalisation, unchecked discrimination and abuse of women despite existence of the ratified protocol, National Gender Policy, Violence Against Women Prohibition Act, Gender and Affirmative Action and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which guarantee comprehensive rights to women, including the right to adequately engage in the political process, socio-economic space, health, justice system in both public and private spheres.”
They declared their opposition to the agitation by some groups to push out Justice Bulkachuwa as Chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Panel.
“According to Section 239 (1) (a), the Court of Appeal has the original jurisdiction to hear and determine questions as to whether any person has been validly elected to the office of the President or the Vice President, recall that Section 3 of the sixth schedule of the 1999 constitution empowers the President to appoint the Chairman and members of the Election Petition Tribunals; and the provision of section 145 of the Electoral Act 2010, states that President of the Court of Appeal may issue practice directions for Election Tribunals.
“In view of the fact that there is no established evidence of malpractice against her it is unfair to deny her this position. we call for total respect for the rights, dignity, freedom and solidarity for womenfolk at all levels, we also urge all well-meaning Nigerians to kick against gender discrimination and encourage gender justice.”