Catriona Laing, the British high commissioner to Nigeria, has called for an increase in the participation of women in political leadership.
Laing made the call while speaking at a two-day forum themed ‘Paving the path: forum for women’s participation in political leadership in Nigeria – past, present and future’.
The event, which held on September 16 and 17, was organised in collaboration with the office of Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, ElectHer, ActionAid, and the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies.
According to Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, spokesperson of the British high commission, Laing reiterated the commitment of the UK to supporting initiatives to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.
Laing said in the last five years, the UK has invested more than £50 million in strengthening Nigeria’s democratic process.
She said although women make up half of Nigeria’s population, in 2019, only 13 women were elected as members in the house of representatives, and only eight women were elected as senators.
“The UK stands with the government and people of Nigeria in its efforts to deepen the role women play in politics. Paving the path for women’s participation in political leadership is a shared objective that we can all agree is overdue in Nigeria’s democratic journey,” she said.
“As Nigeria continues to progress its democratic journey, it is essential that it draws on the dynamic potential of its female population – half the population.
“Women’s political participation has profound positive and democratic impacts on the development of a country.”
Also speaking at the forum, the speaker of the house of representatives assured that “commitments made to advance women’s political participation will be fulfilled by the house of representatives under my leadership”.
Discussions at the forum focused on challenges, opportunities, solutions, and the role that stakeholders can play to get more women elected at the 2023 Nigerian polls and beyond.