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Kalu Advocates Better Empowerment Of Women In Politics

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By Oduyemi Odumade

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has called for better empowerment of women in politics, especially as members of parliament.

Kalu also stated that African countries must make democracy adaptive to their peculiarities and not “copy and paste” governance systems of foreign countries.

The Deputy Speaker made this known in Abuja when he received a delegation of female members of the Federal Parliament of Somalia on behalf of the Speaker, Dr. Abbas Tajudeen.

The delegation, led by the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Caucus, Sahur Haji Ulusow, was drawn from both chambers of the bicameral Somali parliament, namely Upper House (Senate) and a Lower House (House of the People).

The Deputy Speaker, at the meeting facilitated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), noted that while the Federal Parliament of Somalia has 54 female members, Nigeria’s House of Representatives had only 16.

Kalu, however, noted that 13 of the 16 female members of the House are chairing various committees.

He also noted that with the high number of women in the Somali Parliament, Gender equality and inclusiveness formula needs to be rejigged in Nigeria.”

Kalu stated that the visit by the female Somali parliamentarians had “inspired the hope that democracy has come to stay in Africa.”

The Deputy Speaker noted that the exchange would allow Nigeria and Somalia to share experiences on how they overcame the challenges both countries had in common.

While noting that Nigeria and Somalia have similar humanitarian issues, the Deputy Speaker recalled how the National Assembly created several standing committees as legislative interventions.

Kalu also noted that both countries have similar security challenges, stating that, “Insecurity is impeding Africa’s development.

While describing the exchange programme as “a step in the right direction by the United Nations,” Kalu proposed the establishment of a Nigeria-Somalia friendship association for more exchanges and comparison of notes.

The Deputy Speaker also told the Somali delegation of the Legislative Agenda usually designed by every National Assembly, which encapsulates all the national objectives.

Earlier, Ulusow, who led the female lawmakers, said the visit to Nigeria was to exchange ideas with the Nigerian Parliament.She noted how legislative seats are reserved for women in Somalia, making them to constitute not less than 10 per cent of the Somali parliament.

Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Safiya Wada

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