UNFPA suggests Nigeria imitate Somalia's high proportion of female leaders.

UNFPA suggests Nigeria imitate Somalia's high proportion of female leaders.
Nigeria has been advised to follow Somalia's lead and provide more opportunities for women to engage in governance and decision-making by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Niyi Ojuolape, the UNFPA Country Representative for Somalia, made this request following an interactive session at the UN house in Abuja between representatives from Somalia, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and UN systems. She questioned why Nigeria would only produce four female senators out of 109 seats.

The national representative revealed that while there are currently 14 women holding 14 of the 54 seats in the upper house of Somalia and 54 of the 275 seats in the Somalia House of Representatives, the percentage is still low and efforts are underway to push for 30 percent in both chambers.

He demanded early sensitization, greater knowledge, and empowerment for Nigerian women in order to prepare them for civic engagement.

"Somala has far more female lawmakers than Nigeria has. For instance, there are four women out of 109 senators in Nigeria, whereas there are 14 out of 54 women in the Senate of Somalia.

Thus, it is evident that it is roughly four times superior than that of Nigeria. There are 54 female members of the House of Representatives, totaling 275 legislators.

Consequently, we still view our low female participation rate as a result of our goal of having at least 30% of the parliament's members be female.

"More education is needed in Nigeria, along with female empowerment and the knowledge that girls should have early on in life because men also work hard for it.

"So, please advise us on how to save them; certain measures have already been taken. For instance, in Nigeria, certain regulations ought to facilitate female participation, such as exempting them from the nomination fee. Therefore, there are actions that can be taken.

Hon. Nadra Saleh Abdi, the chairperson of the Somalia Parliament Committee on Social Affairs, also spoke. She noted that one of the biggest obstacles facing female lawmakers in Somalia is the processing of bills through the legislature. She also mentioned that they have gained valuable knowledge from their Nigerian counterparts.

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