Ekiti State Equal Opportunities Bill, 2013

July 25, 2013

Arrangement Of Sections
  1.  Prohibition of discriminations and inequalities generally
  2.  Prohibition of discrimination by public institutions and others
  3.  Unenforceability of existing discriminatory laws
  4.  Equal development and advancement of girls and women
  5.  Measures to accelerate existing equal opportunities between Men and women
  6. Responsibility to modify social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women
  7.  Measures to eliminate discrimination in political and public life
  8.  Equal opportunities in the field of education
  9.  Measures to eliminate discrimination in the field of employment
  10.  Measures to eliminate discrimination in the field of Healthcare
  11.  Appropriate measures to prevent discrimination in economic and social life
  12.  Prohibition of discrimination in the area of marriage
  13. Rights to ensure roles of rural women in economic survival
  14.  Rights of women in marriage and family relations
  15.  Rights to protect women reproductive health
  16. Rights of women to seek separation, divorce or annulment of marriage
  17.  Protection of elderly persons
  18. Rights to inherit parents’ and husband‘s properties
  19. Protection of people with disabilities
  20.  Protection of widows
  21.  Offences and penalty
  22.  Establishment of the Ekiti State Equal Opportunities Commission
  23. Composition of the Commission
  24. Appointment of membership of the Commission
  25.  Remuneration of members of Commission
  26. Functions of the Commission
  27.  Removal and other disciplinary measures
  28.  Tenure of members of the Commission
  29.  Interpretations
  30. Citation
Commencement
Enacted by Ekiti State House of Assembly as follows:

1. Prohibition of discriminations and inequalities generally

As from the commencement of this Law, every person in the State shall be provided with equal opportunities and all forms of discrimination against persons and inequalities are hereby prohibited.

2. Prohibition of discrimination by public institutions and others

No person, representative of a State organ, body or public institution shall either through words spoken, actions or inaction, omissions, administrative procedures, customs and practices shall discriminate against any girl or boy, woman or man in the State.

3. Unenforceability of existing discriminatory laws

All practices and conventions which constitute discrimination against any person, shall be null and void and of no effect whatsoever and shall not be enforceable against any person.

4. Equal development and advancement of all persons in the state

Every organ, body, public institution, individual, or community or authority in Ekiti State shall take all appropriate measures, including regulatory policy, fiscal and administrative measures, to ensure the full development and advancement of the State for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedom on the basis of equality with those of the opposite sex.

5. Measures to accelerate existing equal opportunities between men and women

(1) Every organ, body, public institution, authority shall adopt temporary special measures as set out in this Law aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women, and such measures shall not be considered discriminatory as defined in the present Law or in any other Law in force, but shall in no way entail as a consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate standards or regulations between men and women in such organ or agency of government, public or private institution, body, community, or other entity;

Provided that-
(a) where a position exists under the special provisions under this section, ample opportunity shall be given, and information disseminated to women widely;
(b) these measures undertaken pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be gradually discontinued when the objectives of equality of opportunity and treatment have been achieved, provided further that no special measure shall be in place and be enforced for a period of less than 10 years or more than 25 years.

(2) For the purpose of the special measures provided in sub section 1 of this section, all organs or agencies of government, public or private institution, commercial or corporate body, community, or other entity, shall as much as possible ensure-
(a) in the case of political and public sphere, that a minimum of 35 per cent
of all offices, positions, or appointments is reserved for women;
(b) in the case of employment, credit or other economic sphere in the public or private sector, a minimum of 35 percent of all offices, facilities, positions or appointments is reserved for women;

6. Responsibility to modify social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women

Every agency, body, organ, public institution, authority shall have the responsibility to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customs and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women, and to this end, every public or private educational institution shall ensure the adoption of appropriate teaching methods and curriculum including provision of facilities that emphasize the promotion of equality of all sexes in all circumstances and for all purpose including choice of career.

7. Measures to eliminate discrimination in political and public life

Every agency, organ,, public institution, authority shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the State and, in particular, shall ensure that women have, on equal terms with men, the right;

(1) To participate in the formulation of government policy and the implementation of such policy and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government;

(2) To be given, without any discrimination, and prejudice to the provisions of section 2 of this Law , the opportunity to represent the Government of Ekiti State at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations.

8. Equal opportunities in the field of education

Every agency, organ, body, authority, public institution or private enterprise shall be responsible for taking all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education and in particular shall provide:

(1) The same condition for career and vocational guidance, for access to studies and for the achievement of degrees in educational establishment of all categories

(2) The elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women at all levels and in all forms of education by encouraging co-education and other types of education which will help to achieve this aim.

9. Measures to eliminate discrimination in the field of employment

(1) Every organ or agency of government, public or private institution, commercial or corporate body, community, or other entity shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment, occupation or profession, in order to ensure, on the basis of equality of men and women, and without prejudice to the provisions of section 5 of this Law.

(2) In order to prevent discrimination against women on the grounds of marriage or maternity and to ensure their effective right to work, all agencies, organs, bodies, authorities, public institutions or private enterprises shall:

(a) prohibit the termination, dismissal or any other punishment of any woman on the grounds of marriage, pregnancy or of maternity leave and or marital status;
(b) ensure enforcement of maternity leave with pay or with comparable social benefits without loss of former employment, promotion or other social allowances;
(c) encourage the provision of necessary supporting social services to enable parents to combine family obligations with work responsibilities and participation in public life, in particular through promoting the establishment and development of a network of child-care facilities.
(d) ensure equal employment opportunities, including the application of the same criteria for selection, promotion and assignment of responsibilities in employment;
(e) ensure equal remuneration of persons of equal skill, competence, expertise and knowledge, including benefits, and to equal treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work;

(f) provide special protection to women during pregnancy in types of work and practices that may be harmful to them.

10. Measures to eliminate discrimination in the field of healthcare

(1) Every agency, organ, body, authority, public institution or private enterprise shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care and,

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, all agencies, organ, bodies, authorities, public institutions or private enterprises, families, communities or individuals shall ensure provision and access to appropriate services for pregnant women in connection with prenatal, confinement and the post-natal periods, granting free services where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition to women during pregnancy and lactation periods.

11. Appropriate measures to prevent discrimination in economic and social life

Every agency, organ, body, authority, public institution or private enterprise, individual or community shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all areas of economic and social life in order to ensure, on the basis of equality between men and women, the same rights.

12. Prohibition of discrimination in the area of marriage

Every agency, organ, body, authority, public institution shall ensure that neither marriage to a man from another Local Government Area or State shall automatically prevent or disqualify a woman from seeking elective or appointive position in her Local Government or State of origin, neither shall a woman from another local government or state be disqualified from seeking elective or appointive position in her husband’s local government or state.

13. Rights to ensure roles of rural women in economic survival

Every agency, organ, body, authority, public institution or private enterprise, individual or community shall take into account the particular problems faced by rural women and the significant roles which rural women play in the economic survival of their families, including their work in the informal non-monetized sections of the economy, and shall ensure the application of the provisions of the present Law to women in rural areas and to this end,

(1) Every agency, organ, body, authority, public institution or private enterprise, individual or community shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas in order to ensure, on a basis of equality between men and women, that they participate in and benefit from rural development and, in particular, shall ensure to such women the right;

(a) to participate in the conceptualization, elaboration and implementation of development projects at all levels;

(b) to benefit directly from social security programmes;

(c) to obtain all types of training and education, formal and non – formal, including that relating to functional literacy as well as the benefit of all community and extension services, in order to increase their technical proficiency.;

(d) to organize self-help groups and co-operatives in order to obtain access to economic opportunities through employment;

(e) to have access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing facilities, appropriate technology and equal treatment in land and agrarian reforms as well as in land resettlement schemes.

14. Rights of women in marriage and family relation

(1). Every agency organ, body, authority, public institution or private enterprise, individual or community shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and shall ensure, for women and men:

(a) The right to enter into marriage.

(b) Equal right to freely choose a spouse.

(c) Equal rights and responsibilities as parents, irrespective of their marital status, in matters relating to their children; in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount.

(d) Equal rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights;

(e) The same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship, wardship, trustees and adoption of children;

(f) The same personal rights as husband and wife, including the right to choose a profession and occupation;

(g) Equal rights of both spouses in respect of the ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of property, whether free of charge or for a valuable consideration.

(h) The minimum age of marriage shall in all circumstances be 18, and accordingly, betrothal and marriage of a woman under the age of 18 shall be an offence.

15. Rights to protect women’s reproductive health

Pursuant to Article 14 of the United Nations Charter, on People’s Rights, the right to health of women, including sexual and reproductive health shall be respected and protected, particularly to:

(1) Regulate fertility in agreement with their husbands

(2) Choice of birth control method in agreement with their husbands/spouses.

(3) Prevent and manage sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.

(4) Access Family Planning Education.

(5) Medical termination of pregnancy in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the health of the mother or the unmarried girl child on the advice of a medical expert.

(6) Protect from abuse, violence and/or undignifying treatment, especially under pregnancy condition.

(7) Without prejudice to the provisions of section 6 (1) and (2) of this Law, all organs, bodies, public institutions, authorities or private enterprises shall take appropriate measures to protect the maternity status and reproductive health of women, including allocation of special facilities, time and resources aimed at protecting maternity, and such special measures shall not be considered discriminatory.

16. Rights of spouses to seek separation, divorce or annulment of marriage

There shall be equal rights of men and women to seek separation, divorce or annulment of marriage, if need be. In this regard, the following shall be ensured:

(1) Separation, divorce or annulment of marriage effected by the order of a court of competent jurisdiction;

(2) In case of separation, divorce or annulment of marriage, women and men shall have equal mutual responsibilities towards their children. In any case, the best interest of the children shall be given paramount priority;

(3) In case of separation, divorce or annulment of marriage, women and men shall have the right to an equitable sharing of the joint property deriving from the marriage;

17. Protection of elderly persons

Special protection shall be accorded to the elderly, irrespective of gender, by the State Government in the following areas:

(1) Economic and social needs,
(2) Violence, including sexual abuse, discrimination on age and indignity

18. Rights to inherit parents’ and spouse‘s property

Women and men shall have the right to inherit their parent’s property equally

(1) Nothing shall prevent a woman with only female children or with no male child from inheriting their spouse’s property after his death.
(2) Nothing shall prevent a man from inheriting her spouse’s property after her death.

(3) Subject to all relevant Laws, nothing shall prevent a woman with no issue from inheriting the estate of her husband after his death.

(3) A widow shall have the right to an equitable share in the inheritance of the property of her husband.

(4) A widow shall have the right to continue to live in the matrimonial house.

19. Protection of people with disabilities

All women and men with disabilities whether physical or mental shall be protected by this Law against,

(4) Violence and abuse
(5) Discrimination based on disability

20. Protection of widows

In addition to the provisions of Widowhood Rights Law in Ekiti State,
(1) Widows shall not be subjected to inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment.

(2) In case of communal land, a widow with or without a male child shall have equal access to communal farming lands for agricultural purposes only.

21. Offences and penalty

Any person, authority, body or institution, who fails in the duty imposed on him/her under this Law, has committed an offence and shall:

(1) being a first offender be liable to imprisonment not exceeding two months or a fine of Twenty Thousand Naira or to both such fine and imprisonment:
(2) On any subsequent convictions to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten months or a fine not exceeding Fifty Thousand naira or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(6) Any person that sexually abuses a mentally or physically disabled person is guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction be liable to imprisonment for two years.

PART B

22. Establishment of the Ekiti state equal opportunities commission

There shall be established a body known as the “Ekiti State Equal Opportunities Commission
.
23. Composition of the commission

(1) The composition of the commission shall reflect gender balance at all times.
(2) The commission shall comprise a chairperson, an administrative secretary, who will be the accounting officer of the commission and twelve other members as listed below:
(a) one representative of Labour Union,
(b) one representative of the Organized Private Sector;
(c) one representative of Civil Society Organizations
(d) one representative of the Media
(e) one representative of the Ministry of Justice
(f) one representative of Christian religious institution
(g) one representative of Muslim religious institution and
(h) one representative of a Gender Rights Civil Society Groups
(i) one representative of Traditional Institutions
(j) one representative of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and Gender Empowerment
(k) one representative of Ministry of Labor and Productivity
(l) two persons with demonstrable expertise in gender issues
appointed by the Governor

24. Appointment of membership of the commission

All members of the Commission except the Ex-Officio members shall be appointed by the Governor.

25. Remuneration of members of the commission

The remuneration of the members of the Commission other than the Ex-officio members shall be determined by the Governor.
26. Functions of the commission

The Commission shall:
(1) Pursue by all appropriate means, and without delay, policies that will eliminate all forms of gender disparity, discrimination and abuse in the State;
(2 Ensure the implementation of the provisions of this Law in order to achieve the objectives of this Law;
(3) Liaise with appropriate authorities for the proper co-ordination of all the activities relating to gender inequalities in the State;
(4) Provide necessary measures and standards aimed at accelerating equality between men and women;
(5) Ensure the elimination of prejudices and customs and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women;
(6) Provide protective regulations, policies and practices relating to matters covered in sections 3 and 10 of this Law and review or revise as necessary in the light of scientific and technological knowledge such regulations and policies;
(7) Work out modalities for the implementation of the law at the Local Government level in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, and the Local Government Service Commission
(8) Carry out other functions as may be necessary for the proper and diligent execution of the provisions of this Law.

27. Tenure of members of the commission

27. A member of the Commission shall hold office for a period of three years and may be eligible for reappointment for another term of three years only.

28. Removal and other disciplinary measures

Members of the Commission may be removed by the Governor, if he is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Commission that such person should continue in office. The Governor shall also have power to suspend or terminate the appointment of a member if deemed appropriate.

29. Interpretations

In this Law, the following words are intended to mean:

“Abuse” includes physical, psychological, sexual, verbal, economic, social, cultural or similar mistreatment or mishandling which interferes with the integrity of a female or male human being.

“Court” means the Chief Magistrate or High Court of the State
”Discrimination against Women” means any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.

“Governor” means the Governor of Ekiti State.

“Legislature” means the Ekiti State House of Assembly

“Women” includes the girl child.
“Men” includes the boy child.

“Violence” includes physical, psychological, sexual, verbal or emotional maltreatment or assault.

“State” means Ekiti State of Nigeria.

“The Ministry” means the State Ministry as the case may be, responsible for Women Affairs and social development and or Gender issues.

30. Citation

This Law shall be cited as Ekiti State Equal Opportunities Law, 2013

Made this …………… day of ………….. 2013

___________________________
DR KAYODE FAYEMI
GOVERNOR, EKITI STATE