From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Key stakeholders including representatives of Kaduna State Assembly, Ministries of Justice and Social Services and Social Development, civil society groups, media and people with disabilities met in Kaduna and reflected on a smooth passage of the Gender Equal Opportunity (GEO) Bill which has existed in Kaduna State for a few years.
The GEO Bill is a piece of legislation that seeks to domesticate the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in Kaduna State.
The Alternative for the Advancement and Protection of Women’s Rights (WRAPA), under its project “Legal and Social Empowerment Program on Women’s Rights” implemented in Kaduna and Plateau States, supported by Africa Women Development Fund (AWDF) organized the one day meeting in a hotel. in Kaduna.
Project Coordinator, WRAPA, Kaduna State, Barr Bukola Ajao, told reporters in an interview that the meeting was key, in regards to the implementation of modern laws including the Violence Prohibition Act Against Persons (2018), GESI and the Child Protection and Welfare Act. .
“Are there structures in place to make these laws enforceable? Does their budget allow implementing MDAs to work with? That is why we have the Kaduna State Assembly representatives and other stakeholders on the ground to look into all of this.
“So we are looking at the Gender Equal Opportunity Bill which is in Kaduna and Plateau states. In Kaduna State we have the VAPP Act while GEO was enacted in Platea State. Again, the VAPP Act is still pending in Plateau State while the GEO Bill is also pending in Kaduna State.
“So it is important for us in Kaduna to look into what happened in the GEO Bill. We were able to go through the sections of the bill to see if any of them already exist in the VAPP Act.
“For example, when we talk about family matters, we already have it in the Child Protection and Welfare Act in Kaduna State. We will therefore remove the sections that have been captured in the existing modern laws in Kaduna State.
“To this end, we have been able to reflect on the GEO Bill and we have set up a committee to check with the relevant laws and come up with a clean copy so that we can use it to defend critical stakeholders for its passage and its implementation in Kaduna State,” she explained.
Earlier, a key facilitator at the meeting and a permanent Commissioner of the Kaduna State Peace Commission, Barr Rebecca Sako-John, noted that the GEO Bill would be of great significance if it is was adopted into state law.
“If this bill is passed, it will be of great significance for the growth and development of Kaduna State as it will promote gender equity that will enable people to have access and participate in the governance.
“The GEO Law will be like a legal framework for the smooth implementation of the Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Policy (GESI). It will provide legal support to investigate, reward, punish and monitor what is in GESI policy.
“Thus, the GEO bill will be like a domestication of all forms of discrimination against women. We reviewed it today and found that some of its provisions could be deleted as they have been carried over to other existing laws,” she said.