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Constitution review must include women’s views – Tallen

Following the ongoing process by the National Assembly to review the 1999 constitution, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has said women’s views must be included for the constitution to be representative of the citizenry.

Tallen, who made this known during a live broadcast at Arise Television, during the Women in Governance and Politics Conference (WIGPC) organised by Dinidari Foundation on Monday in Abuja, said women’s quest for electoral and constitutional amendment in Nigeria dates as far back as 1998 under the then Military Administration of General Abdulasalam Abubakar, to review the draft 1999 Constitution.
According to her, women drawn from various strata have already responded to the recent call by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, through the Ministry of Women Affairs, to make their submissions hoping all issues raised would be addressed.
In her words: “Women have been marginalized and have not been consulted in the processes of the Constitution, and so the Constitution cannot be representative of women’s views and interests.
“We the people…” as the opening phrase of the Preamble of the 1999 Constitution, therefore does not include women.
“Women therefore ally themselves with all marginalized groups. Women’s views must be included in the Constitution for it to be representative of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“There are factors within our laws that need to be rectified for the sake of equity. The current constitutional amendment process creates yet another opportunity for Nigeria to do the right thing for Nigerian women. Their demands are simple; Equal Rights and Equal opportunities. An equal society is a better society.
“Equal rights and opportunities for Nigerian women does not equate less rights for others. It means a balanced and more functional society for all Nigerians. Every Nigerian wants a balanced and better Nigeria; we all stand to benefit from it.”
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, representing Abia South Senatorial District, Abia State, who gave assurances that the 9th Assembly was committed towards ensuring women were given an equal opportunity to contribute their quota towards national development, however stressed the need for more awareness and sensitisation of the people and lawmakers.

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