Thursday, April 17, 2014

Women call for concerted efforts to achieve lasting peace in Nigeria

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Women and children suffer more during violence, the activists said

As the world celebrated the International Peace day recently, as well as the International Day for the Girl Child on Friday, women activists have called for concerted efforts by all concerned to promote peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. At a recent event marked to commemorate the days at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, with the theme ‘Peace building from a woman’s perspective’, various speakers stated that women and children were the most affected in any violent conflict.

A Gender Advisor with the Nigeria Stability and reconciliation Programme, NSRP, Eleanor Nwadinobi, stated that when conflict and war arise, women and children are the most vulnerable and must therefore be put into consideration. She stressed the need for a peaceful coexistence between citizens and the need for women to be carried along in conflict resolution strategies and peace process in the nation especially as it concerns women and the girl child.

“A good thing about commemorative days is that it serves as a reminder to us all, an opportunity for us to come together as women to amplify our voices and then to take decisions that will improve the way we go about what we do as it relates to coexistence,“ Ms. Nwadinobi said. Ms. Nwadinobi, therefore, called on all involved in peace building processes to come together and form alliances to be able to have lasting impact.

“We all need to come together to form a synergy to ensure complementarity, not like a choir sounding discordant notes. If we can be more organised in the way we do things, each and every one of us contributing to the discuss around peace and conflict management that will impact on the scale of influence and with time all these when coalesced will give us the harmony so desired for a peaceful coexistence,” she said.

Ms. Nwadinobi informed participants of the positive effect of the recently launched National Action Plan, NAP, through the Nigeria Ministry of Women Affairs in Partnership with NSRP; saying it has helped in reducing violence against women. She also threw more light on the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1325 adopted by the United Nations for women and girls which states that women and girls must not be violated during conflict. The five pillars of the UNSCR resolution, fondly called ‘the 5 Ps,’ include Prevention, Participation, Protection, Promotion and Prosecution all in favour of women and children during conflict.

Also speaking at the event, Joy Onyesoh, the president, Women International League for Peace and Freedom, WILPF, restated the importance of the International Day of Peace especially for the women to have an inward reflection of a way forward towards peace process in Nigeria. “This is very important to us in WILFP because giving the times we are in Nigeria there are lots of conflicts going on and it is time for us to start looking inwards and say what qualities we have as women to make the change we need happen,” Ms. Onyesoh said.

She said that a collective framework by a good number of organisations has always been put in place to harness and encourage women at the grassroots, who she said know what they want in other to achieve development. “We also found out that women are invaluable factors of change especially in the process of peace making that is why we came up with resolution 13:25; a framework for women empowerment, with this at grassroot level we work actively,” she said. Participants at the event stressed the need for action towards peace processes to be taking down to the grassroots, and also demanded that violators of Women and Child’s Rights must be brought to book and prosecuted in line with last P of the 5Ps. The event ended with a candle light session; a sign of craving for the peaceful coexistence of all in the country.

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