Many applauded the Press conference organized by Women and Gender Affairs Cluster Committee AU-ECOSOCC Nigeria. Themed: ROLE OF NIGERIAN WOMEN IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION, PEACE BUILDING AND MEDIATION and adjudged it to be timely.
The event held at the African Union Conference Hall, 7th floor Zambezi Crescent, WAEC Building, FCT, Abuja.
Ms Adaora Onyechere, Head, Women and Gender Affairs Cluster Committee AU-ECOSOCC Nigeria, in her speech titled, “Women as burden bearers of insecurity” emphasized the consequences of choosing violence over dialogue pointing out why we must pay attention to it’s effects on the most vulnerable in our society – our women and children.
Her speech below:
The recent surge in insecurity in Nigeria has necessitated the call for dialogue not only among ethnic groups but civil societies organizations and governmental agencies.
The African Union ECOSOCC Nigeria has it as its prerogative and mandate to commit to peace and security of the Nigerian state. An overview of the various treaties of which Nigeria is a signatory to, upholds the principles of fair hearing and dialogue in view of this we want to also call our attention to the consequences of choosing vices other than dialogue in conflict resolution in a democratic state which will impact harshly on the vulnerable citizens – especially our women and children.
Women have right to peace and so should also have a right to peace building and conflict resolution as citizens because they are the first group of burden bearers and the outcome of violence at all levels of the society affects them the most.
therefore all the conversations on peace mediation and resolution should involve women because they are the primary and the singular individuals at the center, at the receiving end of be it a community crisis, banditry and terrorism.
It is also important to note that the number of women who have been widowed due to the death of their spouses while on duty or fighting terrorism has increased.
The number of families whose children have been killed and left childless either by accidental bullets or collateral damage has also increased.
We are also appealing to the youths to also understand that their voice is more powerful than the bullet and should apply reason in thinking dialogue, dialogue is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength, a sign of communicating intentionally, strongly of the things that matter so that there can be resolutions not reactions for and from both section of the parties involved.
Also that they understand the level of unprecedented destruction of infrastructure and poverty that could be the post effect of aggression and so violence and taking lives is not the answer at the end of the day.
we are appealing to the federal Government to look at the need to strengthen the local skill sector at the community level in other to provide employment for the teaming youths and reduce the casualties of those lost to armed banditry and criminalities as a means of survival or else we will see the depopulation of our young people especially our young men if this is not resolved.
African leaders need to communicate more effectively using the voices of their women and also have the political will and empathy to listen to the voices and counsel of their women as peace builders. From the voices of anguish in Ethiopia, in Eritrea, from the voices of displacement of the thousands of women and children on transit from Burkina Faso as a reason of war to the north of Ghana, to the homeless and displaced by war in Sudan and South Sudan to the agony of those in Chad and the women who are widowed because of crisis and ethnic clashes to the call for return to normalcy in the northeast, the demand to end the terror in benue state Nigeria,, the call to end kidnapping and the killing in Niger state, the appeal for calm in the south east and to other parts of Nigeria where insecurity looms and everyday live seems a thing of the past ,with only the hope that the anguish of insecurity and the discontinuation of the waste of lives is brought to the fore.
I believe that the voices of women play a critical role, not just as women but also as human beings and most importantly as the burden bearers of instability.
our Women are the primary receivers of every aggression, every act of violence, every instability and every crisis that happens in the nation so peace is should be the ultimate sacrifice because at the end of the day, an unstable economy breeds an UN-empowered gender population.
Finally Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, gentlemen and extraordinary ladies of the press we use this medium to call on the federal government, other state actors and stakeholders that there should be concerted efforts at inclusive mediation as this will bring a balanced, non-reactionary and sustainable outcome across board.
We all need to join hands to bring back Peace and stability in Nigeria which will safeguard the lives of Nigerian women and their families.
We don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note. Only notes that are different can harmonize.
Thank you. End of Speech.
Also present at the event; 1st country Representative AU-ECOSOCC Nigeria, Dr Tunji Asaolu, UN Women Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, Representative, Minister of women affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, Representative of Irish Ambassador, Representative of CAN, National Secretary, Miyetti Allah and other notable personalities.