A group, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA has reacted to a recent statement credited to the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, advising Nigerian men to marry more than one wife “to show more care to women”.
This is contained in a statement issued and signed by the Vice President, FIDA, Nigeria, Inime Aguma on Friday in Abuja.
The statement stated that the Senator’s remarks were disparaging and meant to demean Nigerian women, portraying them as “sex objects”.
Senator Ndume had made the notion during a deliberation to mark the International Women’s Day, as he singled out Senate President Bukola Saraki, advising him and all Nigerian men to marry second wives.
The lawmaker representing Borno South on the platform of the APC said:
“I urge men to marry more than one wife,” adding that “The first care of a woman is marriage.”
However, FIDA, which is the umbrella body of female legal practitioners in the country, in its reaction, insisted that the clamour for gender equality cannot be realized by women being married off to men.
The statement read: “May we remind the Senator that Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and his utterances negate its provisions.
“Article 16 of that Convention says that ‘State parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and the General Recommendation in Article 21 states that:
“Polygamous marriage contravenes a woman’s right to equality with men, and can have such serious emotional and financial consequences for her and her dependents that such marriage ought to be discouraged and prohibited.”
The group also called on Ndume’s attention to the Biblical inference used to support his comment, Mathew 19:4-6, saying the verse did not recognize polygamy.
“The Holy Bible which Senator Ndume referred to does not recognise polygamy as the wording of Mathew 19: 4-6 refers to the union of one man and woman to the exclusion of any other being.“FIDA Nigeria states that on March 8, 2016, men all around the world adopted policies to accelerate gender equality in support of the theme, ‘planet 50-50 by 2030:Step it up for Gender Equity.“We urge Senator Ndume and other distinguished Senators to pledge for gender parity and not trivialise the role of women in the society”, the statement concluded.