The Deputy Minority Whip and Lawmaker representing Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives Honourable Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid has proposed a landmark amendment to the Nigerian Constitution which seeks to give the female gender equal rights in marriage just as their male counterparts.
The bill which scale through the Second Reading on the floor of the House on Wednesday seeks to end discrimination against women through citizenship by marriage.
According to Hon. Adekoya “this amendment Act seeks to amend the Chapter III, Section 26 subsection 2 (a) of the “Principal Act” by deleting the word “woman” in the first line and replacing it with the word “person” immediately after the word any.
“this subsection of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 has since reduced humanity in our women by depriving them of their inherent rights to marry any man of their choice from any part of the world. It is discriminatory and insulting to the collective sensibility of our women because our Constitution is absolutely silent over this matter.”
The Deputy Minority Whip discloses further that “our Nation’s Independence is incomplete if our women do not enjoy unfettered opportunities, rights and privileges as their male counterparts” which according to him “is the true definition of Freedom”
“By the direct interpretation of Section 26, subsection (2) (a), a Nigerian male can marry any woman of his choice from any part of the world, which directly confers citizenship by registration on such a spouse (Woman/Female).
“In a large and fledging country as ours, where the rights of women are barely upheld especially in the local communities, the above provision has done and is causing great hardship on the female folks.”
He therefore prayed his colleagues in the House of Representatives to lift the spirit of the Nigerian woman whose status is presumed inadequate, insufficient and less-human by that section (and subsection) to grant citizenship right to that male spouse, and which the Nigerian Constitution is wickedly silent on.
Hon. Adekoya has been at the vanguard of the struggle towards removing this veiled and silent discriminatory oversight in the Nigerian Constitution, swing the bill which was gazetted on the 25th November, 2019, through the 1st and 2nd Reading on the floor of the Green Chamber.
His words: “If it were possible to earn Nigerian citizenship through marriage (Registration) it should be across board through both genders.
When finally passed into law, the Bill will alter Chapter III of the Principal Act by deleting the word “woman” as discriminatorily used in section 26, subsection 2 (a) which states: “any woman who is nor has been married to a citizen of Nigeria;” to read:
“any person who is or has been married to a citizen of Nigeria;”