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Court orders FG to enforce National Gender Policy

The WIPF celebrating their victory

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the federal government to enforce the National Gender Policy by allotting 35 percent of appointments in the public sector to women.

A Non-governmental Organisation, Women in Politics Forum, WIPF, filed a suit against the Nigerian government, seeking the implementation of the 35 percent Affirmative Action in appointments of women into public office.

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the federal government to enforce the National Gender Policy by allotting 35 percent of appointments in the public sector to women.

A Non-governmental Organisation, Women in Politics Forum, WIPF, filed a suit against the Nigerian government, seeking the implementation of the 35 percent Affirmative Action in appointments of women into public office.

In her written address, Counsel for the group, Mrs Funmi Falana argued that the predominant appointment of men to decision-making positions, especially ministerial positions, with the exclusion of women was discriminatory against women and is in violation of sections 147 and 42 of the Nigerian constitution (as amended) and Article 19 of the African charter.

But the Lead Counsel to the Federal government, Mr. Terhemba Agbe urged the court to strike out the suit on the grounds that it did not disclose any cause of action and argued that the policy was not a law that could be enforced in court.

Delivering judgment, the judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo, agreed with the plaintiff that Nigerian women had been subjected to various forms of discrimination concerning appointments into key positions of government. 

The judge held that the court was duty-bound to uphold the 2006 Affirmative Action for women.

Justice Okorowo also held that the Attorney-General of the Federation who was the sole defendant in the case failed to disprove the allegations contained in the affidavit, and had no credible evidence to debunk the material evidence of the plaintiff.

Reporting by Ifeoma Nwovu , Editing by Omotola Oguneye