Insecurity: UN, Minister seek women’s participation in dialogue, peace processes



The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, United Nations (UN) and other stakeholders have advocated increased women participation in peace and security processes in the country.

They made the call during a high-level meeting on women, dialogue and mediation in Nigeria organised by the UN Women on Monday in Abuja.

Tallen, who decried the spate of attacks and killings in the country, said women were worst hit by security challenges.

She called for urgent need for more strategies to curb it.

According to her, women play critical role in dousing tension and resolving conflicts during any crisis, hence the need to involve them in any mediation and peace keeping processes.

“ Unless more women are brought to the table in mediation and peacekeeping, we will keep going round and round. You can’t keep repeating the same thing without getting result, there is need to try other factors.

“ Try the women in mediation and peacekeeping, I am sure the difference will be clear. It has proven right in most of the African countries and countries in the world, Nigeria cannot be an exception.

“ We have women leaders in every committee that will help in peace process.

“Women are tired, they are tired of this mindless killings, having women and children being  the ones that suffer the backdrop of any crisis situation.

“It is unacceptable and I believe that if you involve more women both at the local, state and national level, particularly community level, we will get it right,’’ she said.

Similarly, Mr Edward Kallon, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria said they have engaged stakeholders to ensure peace and security in the country, with a view to finding lasting solutions.

“We are extremely concerned because peace and security in Nigeria because it is the most populous country in Africa and the largest economy.

“Peace, security and stability in Nigeria has the far reaching implication for the sub-region and Africa at large,’’ he said.

According to him, the need to involve more women in peace and security processes will aide in ensuring peace and security, as well as more development for the country.

Also speaking, Ms Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS said:“ the meeting is very timely, as Nigeria is presently grappling with various forms of insecurity and seeking non-military solutions.

“As we begin the journey towards the 2023 elections, more emphasis on the national peace building architecture and tools for conflict prevention and resolution is critical.

“We are seeing a deepening of efforts to utilize dialogue and mediation to address various crises. Nonetheless, the gaps, in terms of inclusion and meaningful participation of women in formal peace processes, continue to be glaring,’’ she said.

She noted that an assessments on the level of utilisation  of formal and informal dialogue and mediation of women in Plateau, Kaduna and national level was conducted to understand the challenges and status of women’s participation and capacities for mediation and dialogue.

”Ot is to enable us develop a vetted database of women with dialogue and mediation capacities; and assess the barriers, gaps and opportunities to strengthen women’s mediation capacity and participation in formal peace processes in Nigeria,” she said.

In his contribution, Dr Chris Kwaja, an expert in peace and conflict resolution, recommended support for sustained dialogue and mediation initiative, building and support critical mass of women leaders in governance.

Kwaja, while making a presentation on Assessment of the Utilisation of Dialogue and Mediation in Response to farmer-Herder conflict in Kaduna and Plateau state, also called for establishment of safe spaces for women, support women responsiveness and legal assistance for women.

On her part, Hajiya Lantana Abdullahi, National Co-Cordinator, Nigerian Women Mediators Network (NWMN), decried poor inclusion of women in conflict resolution, which she said had further compounded the security challenges.

“ We also believe that if the country has a dialogue and mediation framework, some of the conflicts  that we see today that is affecting our co-existence as a country, we might be able to address them.

“Take for instance what is happening currently in the South-East, we think that if the government has invested a lot in dialogue and mediation which enables conflict actors and parties to have a conversation to address the conflict in a mutual perspective, we might be able to make some difference.

“Take what happened in the North-East, these are also situations that we think that the government should have adopted a non-violent approach, deploying dialogue and mediation to resolve this conflict.

“So I think as a country largely, we have not been able to do so much in terms of deploying non-violent approach in addressing our conflict in this country and we think women must have a place in some of these conversations,’’ she said.

Also, Mr Ketil Karlsen, Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria, represented by Ms Montse Pantaleoni, Ag Head of Cooperation, EU, stressed the need for more women and girls participation in peace keeping processes.

Ms Jibike Faborode, Conflict, Security and Stability Fund, British High Commission emphahsised the role women played in COVID-19 and peace building initiatives, which had yielded good and remarkable results. (NAN)