The Gender Equality Bill on Wednesday suffered a setback in the Senate as the sponsor Senator Biodun Olujimi was advised to step it down for further consultations with lawmakers who have reservations about the bill.
Senator Olujimi had tabled the bill for second reading in the Upper Chamber during the plenary session, stating that the bill seeks to eliminate discrimination against women and physically challenged members of society.
According to her, the bill will help eliminate gender stereotypes and harmful practices against widows, as well as encourage women to reach their full potentials.
The lawmaker also explained that the bill which was thrown out in the Eight Senate has been repackaged and the issues ironed out through wider consultation with stakeholders.
But two of her colleagues, Senators Yusuf Yusuf (Taraba) and Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto), argued that the bill talks about equality between men and women which is against Islam and Christianity.
They say they will not support the bill in this form unless the title of the bill is changed by eliminating equality from the caption.
Senator Olujimi, on her part, agreed to change the title of the bill to now read Gender Equity Bill.
However, this does not satisfy some lawmakers, particularly Senator Yusuf who says he cannot support a bill when he has not studied the content.
He, therefore, requested that Senator Olujimi steps down the bill for another day.
A few senators, including the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, also argued that given the significance of the bill, there is a need for further engagements to allow lawmakers better understand the purpose and intent of the bill.
Frustrated by the action of her colleagues, Senator Olujimi reluctantly stepped down the gender equality bill to prevent it from being killed and allow for further consultations.