JUST IN: Nigerian Women Floor FG As Court Condemns ‘Overwhelming Appointment’ Of Men Into Public Offices

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday agreed with all the reliefs sought by some women groups aimed at compelling the Federal Government to implement the 35 per cent affirmative action in the National Gender Policy, 2006.

The policy recommends that 35% of all appointments into public offices should be allocated to women.

They had argued that the overwhelming appointment of males in decision making bodies and MDAs in Nigeria violates the rights of women.

The suit was filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Nigerian Women Trust Fund; Women Empowerment Legal Aid and Centre for Democracy and Development (West Africa.), and others.

The federal Government was sued by the women groups.

The plaintiffs further asked Justice Donatus Okorowo to interpret whether the predominant appointment of male gender into federal government positions, MDAs, are not unlawful and a violation of the rights of women.

The defendant argued that the plaintiffs’ application were lacking in merit.

The federal government had contended that there is nothing in the 1999 constitution that compels the FG to appoint a certain number of gender into public offices.

The judge held that the defendant contradicted itself when it failed to deny that women appointment are less than 35%.

The FG rather contended that the infraction does not constitute violation of the constitution.

The judge said that such development “cannot be possible, out of 70 million women in Nigeria?”

“Non of the evidence by the plaintiffs were countered by the federal government.

“FG are expected to honor its statement or policy and not apply it partially.”

The trial court held that discriminatory policies based on gender have been condemned by foreign courts in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1999 Constitution and
his court will align with their findings.

“Judgement is hereby entered in favor of the plaintiffs reliefs,” the judge held.

The following reliefs were sought by the plaintiffs through Marshal Abubakar, of the Falana Falana chambers:

” A declaration that the failure of the first defendant to implement the 35 percent affirmative action policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria is illegal, unlawful, null and an arbitrary violation of the National Gender Policy, 2006.

“A declaration that the failure of the 1st defendant to implement the 35 per cent affirmative action policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria is illegal, unlawful and a violation of sections 42, 147 (3) and 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 19 of the Adrian Charter of Human and People’s Rights.

“A declaration that the overwhelmingly predominant appointment of the male gender into decision making positions of the federation is wrong, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void as it violates Sections 42,147(3) and 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 19 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights.

“An injunction restraining the first defendant from further exercising the constitutional and statutory power of appointment in a manner violative of the 35 percent affirmative action policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria as contained in the National Gender Policy, 2006.

“An order mandating the respondents to henceforth comply with the principle of equality of the sexes in all appointments in compliance with Sections 42,147 (3) and 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 19 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights.”

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