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Hundreds protest at Nigeria's parliament


Hundreds of Nigerian youths on Tuesday converged on the country’s parliament, demanding legal age barriers to holding public office be changed, APA reports quoting Reuters.

 

The march, organized by a coalition of youth groups, came amid claims lawmakers would vote against a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to lower the age.

 

The bill seeks to alter sections of the country's constitution which peg the minimum age required to run for presidential office at 40.

 

Those seeking gubernatorial office or to become a senator must be at least 35. Those wanting to be an MP are required to be at least 30.

 

“We appeal to our lawmakers to give the youth a chance. We call on the lawmakers to support the #NotTooYoungToRun bill in the interest of inclusive participation,” Ibrahim Faruk, a leader of the movement, told Anadolu Agency.

 

The reform bill has already passed the first and second readings at the House of Representatives and is now before the constitutional review committee, which holds the key to its future.

 

It will be sent back to parliament after the committee approves it.

 

If backed by at least 72 votes in the senate and 240 votes in the House of Representatives, the new ages for contesting presidential, gubernatorial/senatorial or House of Representatives ballots will be 35, 30, and 25 respectively.

 

Some protesters stormed the parliament building, with one warning lawmakers against “killing” the proposed legislation.

 

A few lawmakers addressed the protesters, pledging support for the amendment.

 

“We are in a country with the median age of 19 but people who want to save Nigeria’s unity have an average age of over 60,” Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, an activist and one-time chair of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, remarked.

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