Nigeria’s First Lady Woos Women To Join Military

By Timothy Choji and Martha Obi, Abuja 

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Nigeria’s First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, has charged the leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to encourage women to join the military.
She gave the charge at the Defence Headquarters’s one-day Gender Mainstreaming Conference with the theme, “Building Capacity Through Gender Mainstreaming to Meet Security Challenges.”
The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of the Vice President, Nana Shettima,  commended the leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for organising the programme.
“The theme is apt because it is about shaping a safer, better and more equitable world for all.
“I commend the leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for accepting the gender mainstreaming concept in line with the Global Best Practice and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325,” she said.
The First Lady noted that security challenges in the nation have become increasingly complex, thus the need for all Nigerians to support security agencies.
“Addressing these challenges effectively requests innovative and comprehensive approaches and gender mainstreaming stands as a powerful tool in our arsenal.
“Gender mainstreaming is now much more than a charity and a policy agenda, this is a fundamental issue about the way we perceive and address security challenges,” she added.
She said it is recognised that security encompasses not only military strength but also the protection of human rights, economic stability, and social and environmental sustainability.
Mrs Tinubu said it requires a collective effort to address security issues and advance gender mainstreaming.
“We can start by ensuring that gender perspectives are integrated into security policies and strategies, encouraging more women to join and progress within the forces.
“We must promote women’s participation and leadership in security institutions, peace negotiations, conflict resolution efforts and bringing a more reconciliatory perspective into negotiations,” she said.
The wife of the President added that education and training programmes should include gender sensitivity and awareness amongst security personnel.
She further said that women should not be discriminated against for getting married or bearing children while in the military.
She advised that more cooperation is required towards the elimination of gender-based violence within security forces.
“Through the Renewed Hope Initiative project, we have strengthened women’s empowerment by letting women have access to training and education. Additionally, we have equipped the women with laptops and grants to support their educational and professional pursuits. 
“This is because we believe that when you empower a woman, you empower a community and inevitably a nation. We therefore hope that the leadership within the Armed Forces will extend this dialogue beyond the confinement of this conference and empower women and ranks and their ranks,” she said.

Earlier, the Nigerian Minister of Defence, Badaru Muhammad said it is on record that the Nigerian Armed Forces have surprised the recommended benchmark in place by the United Nations regarding female participation in this implant operation.

 

According to him, this development has continued to improve the operational efficiency of the troops in various regions where there are some populations both within and outside the country.

 

It is also instructive that the effort by emphasis on Nigeria at land on the United Nations Security Council resolution that in 25, which recognizes the important role of a woman in prevention and resolution of competence. This level of session as well as humanitarian as imposed company was construction. Quite frankly, it calls for equal participation and fully full involvement of all men in all efforts in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security”, he said.

 

 

He noted the resolution for the audience countries to develop their own action plans to identify, evaluate and control efforts. To achieve the objective for peace and security. So what affected Gender policies and initiatives have taken to challenge the outcome of those policies and initiatives increased perspectives and opportunities/

 

This gathers our commitment to breaking a gender gap to bridging gender gaps and the attainment of parity at all levels by addressing various recruitment, retention and career progression for females in the Ministry of Defense and the various departments and agencies including the Armed Forces”, he added.

 

Consequently, he assured that defense will continue to place emphasis on the abolition of gender mainstreaming towards achieving peace and security in our nation.

 

He appreciated the First Lady for gracing this occasion as the special guest of honour for her commitment to achieving gender equality and their efforts towards eliminating societal ills against women are profiled on behalf of the ministry.

 

The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa said that the theme for the Conference, “Building Capacity through Gender Mainstreaming to Meet Security Challenges,” was carefully chosen to embrace holistic realities in the integration of wider gender perspective for the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

 

 

According to him, the Conference is also tailored at fashioning out the right ambience for the Armed Forces in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating operational and administrative doctrines that seek to promote and enhance capacity by leveraging gender mainstreaming in combating the myriads of security challenges in our nation.

 

General Musa noted that he is glad to inform this august gathering that Nigeria and indeed the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in particular, have received encomium from notable international organizations such as the United Nations and the Africa Union for adopting commendable gender mainstreaming policies in all its military operations conducted within and outside the shores of Nigeria.

 

As available record reveals that Armed Forces of Nigeria have been able to attain 27.9 percent female participation in peacekeeping operations, surpassing the 17 percent recommended benchmark by the United Nations”, he said. 

 

These deliberate efforts by the military are in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, mandating countries to develop their action plans to identify, evaluate and control efforts to achieve the objectives of Women, Peace and Security. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 was mooted to ensure women and societal security needs are safeguarded through increased emphasis on prevention, protection and participation of women in military operations”, he added.

 

Consequently, the asymmetric nature of current security challenges bedeviling us as a nation brings to bear the need for the military and other security agencies to adopt a more realistic gender mainstreaming strategy to defend and protect women and children who are the most vulnerable group of persons and victims of the consequences of security challenges.

 

As we look forward to fruitful deliberations throughout this conference, I want to urge all participants and stakeholders to be open-minded to engage in constructive discussions that will further improve the existing gender policies and gender mainstreaming in the military”, he said.

 

While expressing our sincere thanks to our local and foreign partners for all their support, let me also reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria under my Command will remain focused on championing gender-based doctrinal policies both in its operations and other engagements. Before I conclude, I wish to once again express our profound gratitude to the First Lady, distinguished guests and participants for honouring our invitation.

 

Finally, he used the opportunity to thank the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) for his unwavering support and encouragement to the Armed Forces towards performing its constitutional responsibilities of safeguarding the nation’s territorial integrity as well as lives and property of every citizen.

The conference had many dignitaries in attendance including the Deputy UN Secretary-General, Amina Mohammad and the Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria among others. 

The Maiden edition of the Nigerian Defence Gender magazine was launched at the event.

 

Dominica Nwabufo