By Olasunkanmi Onifade
Abuja – The Federal Government on Monday reassured women and girls of their security in the country.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, said this at the women in peace and security conference organised by UN Women, UNICEF and Norwegian Embassy in Abuja
However, she urged them to take part in peace processes for their rights and priorities to be adequately addressed.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Ifeoma Abagbogu, the minister said: “Women have been an integral part of the development in Nigeria. We cannot forget the contributions of women such as Margaret Ekpo, Gambo Sawaba and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti who worked tirelessly with the men to ensure women peace and security.
“The Nigerian woman is not only an important part of our history, but a pivot of our future development as a nation. We are doing all that is practically possible to improve the situation of women and girls and indeed all Nigerians.
“This administration through actions and policies has expressed its desire in placing the country on the path of sustainable progress, where every woman and girls can better achieve her dreams.’’
She said the present administration was committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by putting measures in place designed to improve the quality of life for women and girls.
Alhassan said the measure includes special focus on sexual violence, integration and empowerment of women to enhance their dignity.
The Country Representative of UN Women, Ms Comfort Lamptey, called for gender sensitive legislative framework, saying the 49 women are appointed in Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa following the advocacy on women inclusive government.
She however called for the need to pay attention to the protection of women and girls particularly in the Northern part of the country.
The Deputy Programme Manager, UN Women, Mr Peter Mancha, said for sustainable peace and development to be achieved in the country, all hands must be on deck.
“Peace is a global concern, when there is violence, everybody suffers and when we don’t invest in peace building, we spend more in peace keeping,’’ Mancha said.
The State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Norway, Ms Laila Bokhari, said the humanitarian challenges had affected women and girls in conflict areas.
She said human suffering was a complex and security threat which needs urgent attention.
The Minister of State, Budget and National, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, was represented by the Director of Social Development Department, Mrs Elizabeth Egharevba, said the conference was apt at a time were issues of women tops national discuss.
She said the federal government was committed to security of girls due to their intervention, the Chibok girls were released.
Ahmed said it was important to dialogue on conflict issues as women and children were usually vulnerable, saying peace would not be achieved if the women are not carried along.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Ifeoma Abagbogu, who was also represented by the Director of Women and Gender, Mrs Anetu-Anne Aliu, said the conference brings together key national, state and community stakeholders to discuss the role of women and girls in peace building process.
She said the conference was also designed to feed into the implementation and dissemination plan for the National Action Plan on United Nations Security Conflict Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and other related resolutions. (NAN)
By Olasunkanmi Onifade