This week, members of the House of Representatives in Nigeria approved a bill to ban age discrimination against applicants to positions with Federal Government Agencies.
Many agencies in Nigeria will operate age limits of 30 years of age for new applicants. As there is currently no law prohibiting age discrimination in Nigeria, there is little someone over this age can do if rejected for a role.
The Bill (officially known as “Bill for an Act to Eradicate the Age Discrimination against Job seekers in Federal Government Agencies; and for Related Matters (HB. 1502)“) was sponsored by Sergius Ogun and Babajimi Benson.
It aims to ensure that those who want to work for the Government can do so without discrimination.
Mr Ogun said that the Bill was needed because “incessant” strikes by education bodies means that students can take longer to graduate and so might miss the age cut off. Mr Ogun also said that, although his Bill is aimed squarely at Federal Agencies, he hoped that private sector employers would follow suit. He said that it was common to see job adverts with age ranges as strict as “25-28 years of age”.
Although the Bill was unanimously endorsed in a voice vote, it faced some oral opposition in debate. Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun said that, since discrimination is prohibited in Nigeria’s constitution, the Bill was redundant.
The Bill was sent for further consideration by the Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity.