The AU-Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC, Nigeria) has called on the Federal Government to recognise and prioritise women in the process of peace mediation and resolution to end insecurity in the country.
Ms Adaora Onyechere, the Head of Women Affairs and Gender Cluster Committee, AU-ECOSOCC, said this while briefing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for the event is: “Insecurity in Nigeria: The role of Nigerian women in conflict resolution, peace building and mediation’’.
Onyechere, who spoke on the topic: “Women as burden bearers of insecurity’’, said that women should be involved in all conversations that promote peace mediation and resolution. She said that it was important to involve women as they were the primary and singular individuals at the receiving end of war, community crisis, banditry and terrorism.
According to her, African leaders need to communicate more effectively using the voices of their women and also have the political will to also listen to the counsel of their women as peace builders. “It is important to note that the number of women who have been widowed as a result of the death of a spouse who died 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,” she said.
Dr Tunji Asaolu, the Nigeria Representative, AU-ECOSOCC, said that the UN, all governments and civil society organisations must encourage and assist women in developing their role in post-conflict resolution and peace building activities. He recommended that women should be supported and their organisations strengthened in peace building efforts by providing adequate and sustained financial and technical support.
He called for an end to impunity and to ensure redress of crimes committed against women in violent conflict, enforce and bring to justice culprits involved in rape as war crimes, among others.
Similarly, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said that it was within the powers of women to tackle and reverse current violence trends in the country. The minister was represented by Mrs Funke Oladipo, the Director, Gender of the ministry at the event.
“This is basically in recognition of the innate managerial, negotiation and reconciliation abilities possessed by women often seen in their day to day peace mediation in the home front and within the communities,” she said.
The event had in attendance representatives from the UN Women, Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Miyetti Allah, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), among others.