The UN's Call for Increased Women Involvement in Nigeria's Security Sector Management

Beatrice Eyong, UN Women representative in Nigeria, made the call during a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

The United Nations (UN) Women has urged increased participation of women in Nigeria’s security management.

During a press conference in Abuja, Beatrice Eyong, UN Women representative in Nigeria, emphasized the importance of gender-responsive amendments to Nigeria’s security laws.

Nigeria’s security sector is characterized by various challenges, including insurgency, terrorism, communal conflicts, and organized crime. Despite these pressing issues, women remain significantly underrepresented in decision-making roles within the security establishment. The lack of gender diversity not only perpetuates inequalities but also hampers the sector’s effectiveness in addressing complex security threats.

Represented by Peter Macha, UN Women programme manager, Eyong highlighted ongoing efforts to review laws such as the Armed Forces Act, Nigeria Police Act, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Act from a gender perspective.

She emphasized the necessity of presenting these bills to the 10th National Assembly for review, noting encouraging responses from some lawmakers.

“I, therefore, call on all the legislators and other stakeholders to support the amendment of these security laws to further enhance a gender-sensitive environment, for maximum efficiency and effectiveness in the security sector institutions and the society at large,” NAN quoted Eyong as saying.

“These progressive actions undoubtedly align with provisions of Nigeria’s national action plan on women, peace and security, national gender policy and several other policy and legal frameworks.”

Abubakar Sulaiman, director-general of National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), said there is a need to close the gender gap in the security sector.

Suleiman said women’s potential remains unexplored in addressing security challenges, adding that it is critical to sensitise lawmakers on the need to change the narrative.

Research has shown that integrating gender perspectives into security governance can lead to more comprehensive and holistic approaches to addressing security challenges. Women are often at the forefront of community-based initiatives for conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and counterterrorism, leveraging their networks and local knowledge to promote resilience and social cohesion.

Empowering women in security management also contributes to broader gender equality and women’s empowerment objectives. By breaking down institutional barriers and challenging gender stereotypes, Nigeria can create a more inclusive and equitable society where women have equal opportunities to participate in decision-making processes and contribute to national development.

The UN Women’s advocacy for increased women’s involvement in Nigeria’s security sector management underscores the imperative of gender equality and inclusivity in fostering sustainable peace and security. By embracing gender-responsive reforms, Nigeria can harness the diverse talents and perspectives of its population to address complex security challenges effectively. As the country continues its journey towards peace and development, prioritizing women’s empowerment and gender equality in security governance will be essential for building a more peaceful, prosperous, and inclusive society for all Nigerians.

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