The Guardian Nigeria
By Matthew Ogune Abuja
Saturday November 18, 2023
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has urged Nigeria to emulate Somalia and create more rooms for women to participate in governance and decision-making.Disclosing that 14 women are currently occupying 14 out of 54 seats at the upper house in Somalia and 54 women out of 275 in Somalia House of Representatives, the country representative said the percentage was still low and efforts are on top gear to push for 30 percent in both chambers.
UNFPA Country Representative, Somalia, Niyi Ojuolape, who made this call after an interactive section between Somalia delegates, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and UN systems at the UN house in Abuja, wondered why Nigeria will produce only four women senators out of 109 seats.
He called for more education and empowerment, as well as early sensitization for Nigerian women to know how to properly participate in politics.
“Female parliamentarians in Somalia is way above that of Nigeria. For example, in that of Nigeria, we have four females out of 109 senators, in the Senate of Somalia, they are 14 women out of 54.
“So, you can see that it is like four times better than that of Nigeria. For the House of Representatives, out of 275 parliamentarians, they have 54 that are female.
“So, when you look at our female participation, we even still consider it as low because we are pursuing to achieving at least 30 per cent of the of the parliaments being female.
“In Nigeria, there is need for more education, there is also need for empowerment and because females need to know what to do early enough, because the males also they struggle for it.
“So, to save them, let us know what to do ; then there are certain things that are already in place. For example, in Nigeria, some stipulations should make it easy for females to participate, maybe they don’t have to pay the nomination fee. So there measures that can be put in place.”
Also speaking, Somalia Parliament Committee Chairperson on Social Affairs, Hon. Nadra Saleh Abdi, who identified processing of bills to get through in the parliament as one of the greatest challenges for female lawmakers in Somalia, said they have learnt a lot from their counterparts in Nigeria.