Nigerian MPs Seek Bill to Create Additional 111 Seats for Women

Nigeria’s National House of Representatives is seeking to amend the Constitution in a bid to create a total of 111 additional seats in the National Assembly exclusively for women.

The amendment seeks the creation of more seats in the State Assemblies to allow more female participation in politics and governance.

The Deputy Chief Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and 85 other members sponsored the bill which passed second reading at the House on Wednesday.

The bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to Alter the Provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to create Additional Special Seats for Women in the Federal and States Legislative Houses; and for Related Matters.”

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Members of House of Representatives in plenary

The bill has six major clauses that seek to alter sections 48, 49, 71, 77 91 and 117 of the Constitution.

The Senate currently has 109 seats, while the House has 360. Each of the 36 states currently have three Senate seats and a representative of the Federal Capital Territory, while membership of the House is based on the population size of each state.

The bill is now seeking to create an additional Senate seat for each state including the FCT, making 37 extra seats and bringing the total seats to 146.

For the House, two additional seats will be created in each state as well as the FCT, making an additional 74 seats, bringing the total to 434.

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In the lead debate on the bill, Onyejeocha explained that the proposal seeks to remedy “the low representation of women in legislative houses by providing for the creation of additional separate seats to be contested and filled by only women in the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly as a temporary measure to promote women’s representation.”

The Deputy Chief Whip noted that the constitutional provision would be subjected to a review after four general election cycles or every 16 years for the purpose of “retaining, increasing or abolishing the temporary measure.”

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