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Gender champions stress northern women integration in peace processes

Recently, top International organisations championing gender equality partnered the Nigerian federal government to promote women inclusion in peace and security in northern Nigeria. ENE OSANG writes that the call follows the need for women’s input in matters aff ecting them in the society.

The clamour for gender equality at decision making levels in Nigeria has taken a more serious look as the call to achieving this aim leaves no sector out. One of such agitation is the demand for women active inclusion in peace and security processes, particularly in northern Nigeria where terrorism is at its peak. It is against this backdrop that the European Union funded a programme being implemented by United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of women (UN Women) in partnership with UNICEF, and the Federal and State Ministries of Women Aff airs and Social Development.

It would be recalled that the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was adopted by the UN Security Council in October 2000. Th e resolution presents a comprehensive mandate to address women’s protection and thier role in peace processes. It also calls for a comprehensive assessment on the impact of armed confl ict on women and girls, role of women in peace building and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution, and recognises the importance of women participation and the inclusion of gender p e r s p e c t i v e s i n p e a c e negociations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict p e a c e – b u i l d i n g a n d governance for the attainment of sustainable peace. Fifteen years after the passage of UNSCR 1325, there is widespread concern that progress made at the normative and policy levels has not been translated into signifi cant improvements in the lives of women and girls in confl ict and post-confl ict countries. Nigeria is no exception to this, given the incessant violent confl ict and high level of insecurity that has over the years reverberated in various part of Northern Nigeria. These conflicts have led to the death of many, destruction of properties and means of livelihood, abduction of vulnerable

groups (especially women and girls), trauma and diaplacement to mention a few. Research have shown that Women and children bear most of the brunt of these crises, yet are often excluded in peace building and confl ict resolution processes, even though they are about 50% of Nigeria’s population, have enormous potentials and represent an insignifi cant number in decision making processes at all levels. It is on this note that Nigeria’s fi rst National Action Plan (NAP) which ran from 2013-2016 was developed and launched by the ministry of women affairs and Th e major women’s peace concerns at the state levels are Insecurity and transnational boarder crimes, gender responsive inclusion in peace architecture, violence against women, girland children and communal crises. social development in Abuja in 2013. According to the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan, ‘’the fi rst NAP which expired in 2016, had gaps and did not take care of emerging issues like the insurgency, violent extremism, and other security related issues especially as it aff ects women. Senator Alhassan said it therefore became imperative to have the NAP revised, to enable women be included in peace building, peacekeeping, as well as confl ict resolution and management. Delivering a keynote address at the launch of the second National Action Plan 2017- 2020, Alhassan further stressed the need to improve human security especially for women and girls in Nigeria. She explained that the second action plan priorities provide frameworks for responding to the distinctive contexts and unique women, peace and security concerns in each state and across the six geo-political zones of the country. She emphasised the roles od state governors, ministers and chief executives od Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) especially the security outfi ts, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, in providing the necessary political will and resources “The major women’s peace concerns at the state levels are Insecurity and transnational boarder crimes, gender responsive inclusion in peace architecture, violence against women, girland children and communal crises,’’ she said. Some young women who suff ered the eff ects of insecurity in the north.

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