Senator Ali Ndume, the Senate Leader, (APC, Borno South), while making his contribution to a debate on a motion to celebrate the International Women’s Day, advised Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, to consider marrying a second wife, just as he also entreated Nigerian men to marry more than one wife as a way of showing women more care.
According to him,
“Men should take care of women by not just befriending them, but by going further to marry them. I know there is nowhere in the Bible that prohibits marrying more than one wife. Starting with the Senate President, I ask him to consider marrying more than one wife.”
Consequent to the statement, Senator Ali Ndume has come under fire as The International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, criticised him in anger, saying that the comment represented women as being of little worth and portrayed them as ‘sex objects.’
The association, which is the umbrella body of female legal practitioners in Nigeria, said this in a statement it issued in Abuja on Friday, as they expressed disappointment over the fact that Ndume gave the advice on the floor of the sacred chambers of the Senate, maintaining that the quest for gender equality cannot be achieved by marrying women 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 pointed out that the Holy Bible, which Mr. Ndume used as a reference point in his statement, does not acknowledge 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.”
They also noted that the Marriage Act stipulated marriage to be between one man and one woman while sections 33, 39, 45, 46 and 47 stipulated punishments for polygamy for persons married under the Act.
FIDA concluded their statement by asking Senator Ali Ndume and his associates to stand with “gender parity” and not make light of the role of women in the Nigerian 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.”