…GBAJABIAMILA ASSURES OF REPS’ READINESS TO PASS SEXUAL HARASSMENT BILL
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, stated on Wednesday that the lower chamber will provide funds for the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the 2021 budget.
Apart from budgetary provision, Gbajabiamila said the House will also provide all necessary support as well as partner with relevant stakeholders for the fight against GBV to succeed.
The Speaker stated this in response to the request by the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Nigeria, Ulla Elisabeth Mueller.
Mueller led a delegation of United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) Spotlight Initiative on a courtesy call ro the office of the Speaker in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Speaker said the issue of gender-based violence in the country has become a disturbing trend hence the need for all stakeholders to come together to nip it in the bud.
He also assured the delegation that the House would work on the Sexual Harassment Bill forwarded to it by the Senate as soon as members return from their annual recess.
“You talked about the Senate Bill, though we’re going on a long vacation, I can assure you that as soon as we come back, the House will work on the bill,” he said, noting that after due diligence, the Green Chamber will “speedily concur with the Senate.”
He said: “On the issue of funding like I said, it’s like a pandemic. There’s no way you can confront a pandemic without funding. The budget is coming in September, and once it comes, we’ll make sure adequate funding is provided for this issue.
“On the issue of domestication of the VAPP 2015 and the Child’s Rights Act, my office has done a lot. We had a conference with the Speakers of the State Assemblies.
“The Chairman of the Conference of Speakers promised that they would domesticate it in Bauchi, and I’m glad to say that it has been done.
“We’ll continue to engage with others to see that they domesticate the laws. This is something we’re championing, and we’ll continue to do that. For us in the House of Representatives, we’re giving this issue all the seriousness it deserves.”
Gbajabiamila said the issue of gender is prominently featured in the Legislative Agenda of the House, a new version of which would be launched on Saturday.
The Speaker commended members of the delegation for the work they have been doing, saying he hoped there would be a sustained partnership between them and the House to end gender-based violence in Nigeria.
Earlier in her remarks, the leader of the delegation, Mueller, said everybody has the responsibility to say no to gender-based violence taking place in Nigeria and work toward ending same.
She said they would advocate for a budget line to be committed to the fight against gender-based violence, noting that the House should also ensure that the funds are released accordingly when appropriated.
As part of their work, she said they were working on a concept to organise engagements with different stakeholders including Speakers of State Assemblies.
While commending the Senate for passing the Sexual Harassment Bill, she called on the House to concur so that it will be assented to by the president.
Amina Hussaini, a graduate of Mass Communication, has been with INSIDEBUSINESS for over a year now after a stint with The Daily Trust. She sources for data and writes Finance related stories.