The Nigerian Women Trust Fund has urged the Federal Government to implement the 35 per cent affirmative action for women ordered by the Federal High Court in 2022.
It noted that the failure of the government to meet the 35 per cent women inclusion quota, has perpetuated systematic gender inequalities and undermined the principles of equitable representation.
Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had in 2022 ordered the federal government to comply with the 35 per cent affirmative action for women, PUNCH Online reports.
In the judgment delivered, the judge said that the government was obliged to apply the 35 per cent affirmative action, accusing the past governments of acting contrary to the international treaties on women’s participation in government.
Justice Okorowo also said that the National Gender Policy was not merely a policy statement, but one that must equally be supported with requisite action on the part of the government.
He noted that the 35 per cent affirmative action which entailed appointive positions for women to ensure inclusivity, must not be merely on paper as Nigeria is a signatory to international treaties, particularly on those entrenching the rights of women.
“The court judgement signifies the affirmation that these inequalities exist and calls the government to take immediate action to enforce the 35 per cent affirmative action by appointing qualified women into appointive positions,” the Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, Brenda Anugwom said on Friday in Abuja.
She said that the government’s failure to implement the court’s ruling sends a message that it prioritises its political agenda over gender parity and the empowerment of women.
“This not only discourages women’s participation in politics but also erodes public trust in the government’s commitment to gender equality. However, Nigerian women will not stop speaking up until the government addresses these gender imbalances to ensure women are equitably represented in governance and public offices.” Anugwom added.
She noted that NWTF will continue engaging the government on the implementation as part of efforts to achieve the growth and development of the country, with the hope of promoting increased awareness and understanding of the importance of gender equality in Nigeria.
She urged President Tinubu to re-evaluate his administration’s approach in appointing officials to his growing cabinet and take immediate action to implement the 35 per cent affirmative action.
“By neglecting this crucial provision in the gender policy, the government diminishes the potential of women to contribute their unique perspectives and expertise to public policymaking,” she said.