By Ralph Chris-Izokpu
A Non-governmental organization, Partners West Africa Nigeria, PWAN has sensitised security agencies in Borno and Yobe states on the steps needed to protect the vulnerable population in conflict-prone areas especially women and children.
The sensitization exercise, is aimed at mitigating the impact of crisis among the vulnerable population in the society particularly women and children caught up in crisis area and also enhance the participation of women in the country’s security sector.
In a statement signed and made available to newsmen by the Communication Officer of the group, Charity Onwubiko stated that, there is the need to provide sensitization workshop for the security officers in the terrorism-ravaged states of Borno and Yobe cannot be overemphasized especially regarding the provision of gender-sensitive protection strategies to minimize gender related casualties, particularly sexual violence most times associated with women folk.
The statement that, ” this is also part of PWAN’s contribution in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal, SDGs 16 and 17 which is aimed at building strong peace and justice institutions and partnerships.
“The changing face of insurgency especially with regards to women undoubtedly calls for a more inclusive and strategic approach in resolving conflicts and countering terrorism.
Nigeria’s security sector as it currently stands reflects the traditional society in its patriarchal nature. This has affected the structure of the security sector with regards to inclusiveness, gender parity and discriminatory practices against women” the statement stated.
While commending all the security agencies in the country for taking steps to integrate gender equality, the statement enjoined them to continue to improve their capacity to provide gender sensitive protection strategies for all vulnerable population particularly women and girls.
The statement further expressed the commitment of PWAN to partner with relevant security organizations in ensuring more participation of women in decision-making and overall structure of the security sector in the country.
According to the statement, the group also reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari commitment to address incidents of sexual violence, sexual abuses in schools, human trafficking and cultural practices that violate women’s rights adding that it is worthy of commendation.
Highlight of the sensitization program was the launching of notepads, bottles and pens as IEC materials.