The International Federation of Women Lawyers have expressed outrage over the comment by a Nigerian senator, Ali Ndume, advising men to marry more than one wife “to show more care to women”.
In a statement Friday, FIDA said Mr. Ndume’s remarks were disparaging and meant to demean Nigerian women and portray them as “sex objects”.
While contributing to a debate on a motion to mark the International Women’s Day, Mr. Ndume had also singled out Senate President Bukola Saraki, advising him to marry a second wife.
“I urge men to marry more than one wife,” said Mr. Ndume, Senate Leader, (APC, Borno South). “The first care of a woman is marriage.”
The FIDA maintained that the clamour for gender equality cannot be realized by women being married off to men.
“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,” the group said in the statement signed by Inime Aguma, Country Vice President, FIDA, Nigeria.
“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 noted that the Holy Bible which Mr. Ndume referred to in his comments does not recognize 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”.
The group also urged Mr. Ndume and his colleagues to pledge “gender parity” and not trivialize the role of women in the society.
“FIDA Nigeria stands with the female senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and say ‘No’ to this degrading motion moved by Senator Ali Ndume.”