Several civil society organisations have sued the Federal Government for allegedly marginalising women in the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Federal High Court’s Justice Okon Abang in Abuja on Wednesday, fixed February 5 for hearing of the suit.

The six plaintiffs are the Nigeria Women Trust Fund, Women Empowerment Legal Aid, Centre for Democracy and Development West Africa, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Vision Spring Initiative, and Women in Politics Forum.

The Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation were sued as the defendants.

The plaintiffs, represented by the law firm of Mr Femi Falana (SAN), argued that the refusal of the Federal Government to implement its 35 per cent affirmative action policy was unlawful and an arbitrary violation of the National Gender Policy 2006, sections 42, 147 (3) and 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, and Articles 2, 13 (2) and (3) and Article 19 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights.

They also argued that the “overwhelmingly predominant appointment of the male gender into decision making positions of the Federation” was wrong, unlawful, unconstitutional and a violation of the provisions of the earlier cited laws.

They sought, among others, an order of injunction “restraining the 1st defendant from further exercising the constitutional and statutory power of appointment in a manner violating the 35 per cent affirmative action policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria as contained in the National Gender Policy, 2006.”

The plaintiffs were represented by Mr Marshal Abubakar of the Falana’s law firm on Wednesday.

Since the defendants were not represented by any lawyer, the court adjourned the hearing until February 5.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has assured Nigerians that the 9th National Assembly would expand the political space for women in the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

Omo-Agege, Chairman, Senate ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review, according to a statement by his media aide, Yomi Odunuga, on Wednesday, stated this in Abuja when he hosted a delegation of a group, Women in Politics Forum, led by Ebere Ifendu.

The lawmaker noted that since women represent 58 per cent of the Nigerian population, their voices must be heard.

He answered that he sponsored a constitution alteration bill which sought to reserve 30 per cent of cabinet appointments for youth and women at the federal level and 40 per cent at the state level.