Canada has offered to provide $4 million to increase women’s participation in Nigerian politics.
On Saturday, the acting Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Kevin Tokar, said the money would be disbursed to promote women’s political participation ahead of its 2023 general elections.
“To encourage female participation in politics in Nigeria especially come the 2023 general elections. We will be donating $4 million in the next four years,” Mr Tokar said.
Mr Tokar spoke at the United Nations Women’s launch of its ‘Women’s Political Participation Project and Advocates for the Gender Bills at High Level Forum’ in Abuja.
The UN Women country representative to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Comfort Lamptey, noted that the UN Women’s mission in the last five years on women leadership had been made possible through the contributions of the Canadian government.
“At a global level, women’s role in decision making is a pillar of UN Women’s mandate and over the past five years around women’s leadership was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of the Government of Canada within the context of the regional leadership Programme covering four countries in WCA region: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and the Central African Republic,” Ms Lamptey explained.
Nigerian women currently hold less than five per cent of elected seats at the National Assembly, pointing out that state assemblies have 4.43 per cent and ministerial appointments, 16.2 per cent.
On March 1, legislators voted on 68 bills during a constitutional amendment exercise, out of which five bills seeking to increase representation for women in politics and society were quashed.
The bills to provide special seats for women at the national assembly, to grant citizenship to foreign-born husbands of Nigerian women, to grant women the right to become indigenes of their husbands’ states, and a bill seeking 35 per cent quota for women’s inclusion in political parties administration had been rejected.
Various women groups in the country condemned the rejection of the bills and protested at the national assembly complex.