4 December 2012

Nigeria: Constitution Not Favourable to Women

Ado-Ekiti — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking, Dr Ngozi Ezeillo, yesterday said the country's constitution is defective on the protection of women.

Delivering a lecture titled: Human security and its implications for women", organized by the Ekiti State Development Foundation and the Ministry of Women Affairs, attributed what she described as the rising poverty level among women to defective constitution.

Ezeillo, who was a former commissioner for women affairs in Enugu State lamented that Nigerian women are not well protected under the law.

She said though Section 42 of the 1999 constitution prohibits discrimination against women, discrimination against the womenfolk has continued to fester owing to poor implementation of the provision.

"Section 55 of the Penal Code permits wife chastisement, that is spousal beating, which is an instance of the institutionalization of violence, while Section 26 fails to recognize the right of Nigerian women to pass their citizenship to their foreign spouses."

Also, Section 29 presumes minors who are married women to be of full age, thereby encouraging child marriage, which is already prevalent with its attendant consequences on the health and rights of women," she said.

In his remarks, Governor Kayode Fayemi, said his government would continue to support gender issues while his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, said the government under her husband, has tackled the issue of gender inequality by appointing more women into strategic positions in the executive council, House of Assembly, senior civil service and boards.

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