From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Minister for Women Affairs, Paulen Tallen, has made passionate appeal to bandits to stop targeting school children in their nefarious activities.
Her appeal followed the killing of six students of the private Greenfield University, who were last Tuesday kidnapped alongside others by gunmen in Kaduna State.
Tallen made the appeal on the sideline of to the first meeting of 2021 for the Security Sector Reference Group on UNSCR 1325 organised by the ministry with support from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and the Government of Germany, to enhance gender balance and gender responsiveness of security sector institutions in furtherance of its international, regional, and national commitments, in particular United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
Through the project on “Enhancing Gender-Responsive Security Operations and Community Dialogue on Gender Responsive Security Sector Reform, implemented with funding from the Government of Germany, the programme aims to enhance a gender responsive policy environment through various policy development and policy dialogue interventions. One such initiative is the security Sector Gender Reference Group.
Tallen said: “There is no doubt that our country is facing security challenges right now and need our support or else we will not effectively fight insecurity.
“Mr. President and the security chiefs alone cannot tackle the security challenges, we need to support them with necessary information, commitment and patriotism.”
She said, “Nigeria is going through a difficult and trying moments. Every day we get distressing news of insecurity in the country and the worst hit are women and children.
“I am also appealing to bandits to stop kidnapping our children, I am appealing to Nigerians to join in the fight against insecurity. We must give the right information to our security operatives to enable them achieved the desired result.
“To the parents of these abducted children, I assure them it’s not just their concern, it’s everybody’s concern. As mothers we are calling for more prayers to conquer this challenges, if we love our country we must show commitment snd patriotism. If you love you country you will speak out and support the country’s security architecture.”
Tallen described the meeting as very important, strategic and timely, adding that the outcome will help in the country’s security architecture.
In her goodwill message, UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Comfort Lamptey, said the meeting came at an important juncture in Nigeria’s peace, security, and gender trajectory.
She noted that the Group lunched in June 2020, was in response to the lack of an inter-agency, multi-stakeholder platform or network on gender responsive security sector.
Nigeria is signatory to several commitments on women, peace, and security, as well as gender responsive and gender balanced security sector more specifically. In response to these commitments, we have witnessed various policy and programmatic initiatives; however, progress and implementation has been uneven across and within security sector institutions.
“As such, it is the hope that such a platform would allow for exchange of experiences and good practice through interaction between gender structures of various institutions; collate data and assess overall performance of the gender responsiveness of the security sector; identify strategic policy and capacity gaps and challenges. Since the launch, I believe that there has been enhanced interaction between different gender structures of various security institutions, the organization of the first forum on women in the security sector, and greater sensitization and demand for gender-responsive interventions within various institutions. We expect that this year, the Group will achieve much more as it consolidates its membership and ways of working.
“The launch of the Reference Group forms part of a larger intervention by UN Women, funded by the Government of Germany, to support efforts by the Government of Nigeria to enhance gender balance and gender responsiveness of security sector institutions in furtherance of its international, regional, and national commitments, in particular United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The project titled, ”Enhancing Gender-Responsive Security Operations and Community Dialogue on Gender Responsive Security Sector Reform” specifically aims to support key security sector institutions to integrate gender in their policies, training, and operational documents; and improve community-security relations through enhanced collaboration between conflict affected women and women’s organizations with security sector institutions and personnel in areas with ongoing security operations, such as the North East.”
She Lamptey concluded by saying that current developments in Nigeria present both challenges but also entry points for wider impact of the Group.
“Firstly, the lapse of the 2nd National Action Plan provides an opportunity for the security sector to provide concrete and consolidated inputs for inclusion in the 3rd National Action Plan. The security sector should see itself as a key implementing sector for UNSCR 1325. “Secondly, there has been an ongoing process of discussions on police, defence, and broader security reform. These are all critical opportunities to ensure that reform processes and security debates at state and federal levels are informed by, and responsive to gender. There is much that can and should be done around advocacy and sensitization.
“Thirdly, the importance of having a baseline and repository of data and information on gender and security sector to allow us to track progress over time, share good practice, share joint/standard resources, and allow for better coordination and coherence of partner support.”