Women’s participation in peacebuilding crucial for national security, says NSA

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha

Abuja   The National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, says women’s partcipation in peacebuilding at the community level is critical to strengthening national security.

Ribadu stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 2023 Women’s Peace Forum (WPF)  with the theme “Strengthening Women’s Strategic Engagement in Climate-Focused Peace Making in Nigeria”.

Ribadu was represented by Head of Strategic Communications, Office of the NSA, Zakari Mijinyawa  at the event organised by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) in partnership the Government of Canada.

For this, he said, the Federal Government was putting in place special measure to mainstream woman into peac building activities.

“As you are aware, the renewed hope agenda has one of its key pillars as strengthening national security. The plans for police reform and also moving millions of Nigerians out of poverty cannot be done without empowering woman.

“Woman are victims, and also contributors to peace at community levels. So it is a key pillar of national security that at every level, women are involved.

“Indeed, the federal government is taking special measures to mainstream women into peace building activities.

“So that is why we thought it is very important to come in and participate and also to contribute in shaping the resolutions of this programme,” Rbadu said.

On rehabilitation efforts in the North-East, Ribadu said both the federal and state governments have been supportive to persons impacted by the impact of violent extremism and terrorism.

He said that the federal government under President Bola Tinubu has expanded the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs to include poverty alleviation and to meet the needs of those affected by conflicts and insecurity.

”In Maiduguri and in most of the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, women are involved in both peace building and in addressing their needs in the areas of health, psychosocial support, and also in rebuilding communities.

“ So this is at the heart of recovery going forward,” Ribadu said

Speaking, the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Beatrice Eyong said that the current peace and security challenges in Nigeria, have devastating effects, particularly on women and girls  and other vulnerable groups.

This according to Eyong includes climate change vis-a-vis the farmer-herder crisis, cybercrime, kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery and incessant attacks by the insurgents, among others.

She said there was need for the patricians to deliberate further on those challenges during this conference to identify sustainable solution

“It is evident that while climate change continues to put pressure on the wellbeing and  livelihoods of many communities and individuals in Nigeria and beyond, as its impact is not gender neutral.

“Women and girls continue  to be disproportionally affected by environmental degradation and climate change.

“ Women tend to be more reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods compared to men, and often have limited rights to information and participation in decision-making, including conflict prevention and peacemaking, at all levels,’’ eyong said.

The Country manager of  HD, Dr Chris Agoha, observed that as communities migrate from climate-related crises, women were more vulnerable to security threats and violence.

Agoha decried that woman who play a significant role in small-scale farming and food supply in Nigeria, they were not usually part Nigerians making policies about food security.

He said that the conference was to see how climate change was adversely impacting on women in terms of carrying out their daily activity, especially women with farming as their source of livelihood.

“There is a big climatic conditions, all about global warming and all that. So this climate change is affecting every aspect of our life, particularly women in terms of what they do.

“It’s bringing conflict, depletion of natural resources. If you look at the crisis in the middle belt, there is this problem of farmer herders clash.

“ It’s been exacerbated by climate change. There’s shrinking grazing space and land is being contested,’’ Agoha said.

During the panel session, the Director-General of the Benue Peace and Resolution Commission, Mrs Josephine Abba said:”until Nigeria begins to accept that women are critical participants in the society, nothing can be achieved in the area of peace and food security.”(NAN)(www.nannews.ng) /Flowerbudnews

Biola Lawal

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