Hundreds of women yesterday stormed the Asaba Centre of the South South zone of the proposed alteration of the 1999 Constitution as amended to amplify the voices of womenfolk in the revised constitution. This was as the Bayelsa, Delta and Edo governments and contingents demanded a complete jettisoning of the 13 percent oil derivation to the oil producing states.
They said the sharing formula as enshrined in the amended constitution has become obsolete, hence a 100 per cent control of resources should be considered for the owners. The women told the Constitutional Review Committee, headed by Senators James Manager (Delta), Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta), Serieke Dickson (Bayelsa), Biobarakuma Degi (Bayelsa), Matthew Urhoghide (Edo), Francis Alimikhena (Edo) and Moses Clopas (Bayelsa) that the 35 percent affirmative action benchmark in politics had been unresponsive while the amended 1999 Constitution lasted. The women mobilized from various umbrellas, including the 100% Lobby Women for Democracy and the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS) participating in politics, under the United Nations charter, said the collective togetherness of Nigeria would depend largely on the outcome of the constitutional review.
The spokesperson, Dr. Mrs. Joyce Ogwuezi, flanked by a chieftain of the group, Mrs. Ifadah Anne Omos, said an all-inclusive spirit must be registered in the review. She maintained that certain sections of the constitution must be expunged or re-amended to stop gender inequality. She said Sections 48/49 must be reviewed to accommodate additional senatorial districts at the national assembly for all states to be occupied by a woman each.
The President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) Prof. Ben Ogele Okaba, supported by Prof Sam Ukala, who spoke for Delta, said the 1999 constitution was skewed to shortchange the oil bearing states of the Niger Delta region. He said, “The 1999 constitution is the greatest injustice ever done to Ijaw ethnic nationality. It is a satanic document. We demanded 100 per cent control of our resources in the revised constitution.”