During proceedings of the Nigerian Senate some hours ago, Senator Ali Ndume decried gender equality in marriage stating that Nigerians should either stick to traditional, christian, or muslim marriage.
He claimed that combining the two poses a problem to how a woman is treated in a marriage. According to him,
“You will find an Igbo man who cannot speak Igbo language because he studied abroad, he will do traditional marriage then go to church again to get married in the church.
“The church wedding says if you marry, the couple become one while the Igbo tradition says when you marry a wife, she becomes your property, so when issues come up after the marriage, you now wonder which one to take,” Senator Ndume said.
Claiming that even in Islam there are specifications on how women should be handled/ treated but when both are combined it becomes a case of violated rights.
This came in response to a bill presented to the Nigerian Senate as sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi representing Ekiti south senatorial district and the deputy minority whip which advocated for women having equal rights as men in marriages. The bill which Senator Olujimi claimed was for the betterment of all persons in Nigeria also sought to uphold women’s freedom of movement, economic activity and access to education. Further stating that women need to be given equal opportunities as men in family, land-ownership, divorce, and inheritance matters.
Lawmakers like Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president, Senator Ibn Na’allah representing Kebbi south senatorial district, Ibrahim Gobir representing Sokoto east senatorial district, and Fatimat Saraki pledged their support for the passage of the bill. On the other hand, some senators like Senator Rufai Ahmed, Senator Adamu Aliero, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha spoke against the bill, citing religious and traditional reasons.
When the Senate president raised the question on whether or not the bill should be passed for the second hearing, there was a loud roar of ‘nays’ showing rejectance of the bill.
Nigerians took to twitter to air their grievances against the Nigerian Senate.
Our senate is our problem. I keep saying it. In a country that smells of shit, they're the shit. https://t.co/NFurufYBVB
— Edwin Madu (@DwinTheStoic) March 15, 2016
Love letter from the Nigerian Senate to the woman and girl child,
Do. Not. Expect. Nigeria. To. Be. Good. To. You.
— Fifs! (@ineffablewaters) March 15, 2016
— segilola adeyemi (@segilolaa) March 15, 2016
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki however took to Facebook to assure Nigerians that the bill will be reintroduced again.
“The beauty of democracy is that it gives us the opportunity to consider different opinions and this bill can still be represented and reconsidered on the floor of the Senate”
His Twitter account also showed images of the Senator who sponsored the bill and one of them who was against it in a meeting to reach an understanding.