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House Of Reps Blocks Bill On Paternity Leave

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The Nigerian House of Representatives has rejected a bill seeking to grant leave to married men in the advent of childbirth by their wives.

The bill aims to provide for an act to make provisions for optional paternity leave to all married male employees in private and public sectors.

Lagos and Enugu states are among the few states in the country that have legal backing for such leave, with some giving as much as 21 days.

It failed to scale through second reading when called up during plenary on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Edward Pwajok, a Plateau state lawmaker who sponsored the bill, argued that the idea that only women care for children is “outdated”.

He added that nations such as Denmark, UK, Iceland, Australia have all made progress partly because of their recognition of the role of men in the upbringing of children.

“As father’s share of parenting is on the increase, they experience similar challenges with women, such as their jobs and family duties clashing,” he said.

“Making provision for maternity leave without provision for maternity leave is discriminatory against men.”

Most of the lawmakers who contributed to the debate on the bill described it as “unnecessary.”

Kingsley Chinda from Rivers State argued that both men and women go through different forms of pains in life.

He also said the bill did not reflect the needs of  Nigerians.

“What is the spirit behind the labour law? I think that this bill should be thrown out,” he added.

Nkem Uzoma-Abonta from Abia state, however, supported the bill, saying it is long overdue.

But the lawmakers voted against second reading for the bill.

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