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Minister tasks security sector on gender mainstreaming

“I am therefore excited that this training is being conducted at this time, as it will drive the progress on gender mainstreaming in the security sector.

By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has tasked security and paramilitary agencies on the need for gender mainstreaming in line with the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.

Tallen gave the charge on Tuesday in Abuja at a capacity building workshop on Gender Mainstreaming for Senior Officers of Security Sector Institutions.

The workshop was organised by the National Defence College Centre for Strategic Research and Studies, in partnership with the UN Women as part of the 16 Days of activism against Gender-Based Violence

The minister was represented at the workshop by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Olufunsho Adebiyi.

She said the training marked a milestone in driving the progress of gender mainstreaming in the WPS agenda in line with the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325.

The minister said more still needed to be done in the security sector.and called more investment in gender training of officers to enable them understand their roles and responsibilities.

“I am therefore excited that this training is being conducted at this time, as it will drive the progress on gender mainstreaming in the security sector.

“The ‘HeforShe’ campaign remains a critical strategy in the advocacy to mainstream gender in all aspects of our national life,” Tallen said.

The UN Women Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, commended the demonstration of commitment from senior officers of various security organisation to the training.

She said accountable leadership starts from the top, and urged the participants to ensure that Nigeria built a gender responsive security sector agenda.

According to her, responsive security sector is important to enhancing operational effectiveness of security institutions, in line with calls by the UN Security Council to facilitate protection of civilians, including women and girls.

Lamptey said the workshop was expected to create a platform to promote inter-agency collaboration and networking for the women peace and security agenda.

“It is therefore expected that at the end of this 4-day workshop, participants will develop concrete action plans to enhance gender mainstreaming in their respective institutions.

“This include stepping down the knowledge applied to other senior officers to support the formulation and or review gender policies and operational guidelines, among others,” she said.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said the armed forces had developed a gender policy in line with the provisions of the UNSCR 1325.

Irabor, who was represented by the Director of Training, Defence Headquarters, Rear Adm. Okon Eyo, said the gender policy would help to implement the resolutions, to further the interest of women, peace and security.

He said the development was in addition to past milestones and consolidate the progress made so far.

According to him, even before the codification of the women policy, the armed forces had provided inclusive opportunities for women in all aspects of the military.

The UK Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Adm. Tim Fraser, represented by Maj. Bonnie Nicholle of the UK Military Advisory and Training Team, said it was imperative to understand how gender should be integrated into all operational activities.

Fraser said the UK, as signatory to the UNSCR 1325, was committed to improving the way it approach gender and women peace and security.

This, he said, include working together with partners to advocate women participation in conflict prevention and resolution.

According to him, in UK, gender awareness in defence was part of the country’s human security policy.

He said that the military no longer just defend borders, but operate fully in communities, dealing with insecurity.

Earlier, Commandant of defence college, Rear. Adm. Oladele Daji, said the workshop would enrich and equip senor officers in security institutions with better knowledge on gender mainstreaming.

Daji said the promulgation of a gender policy, establishment of gender departments and gender focal points in the defence sector were clear manifestations of the military’s commitment to gender mainstreaming.

He said the training would serve as guide for participants in the discharge of their duties at tactical, operational and strategic levels of conflict resolution both in Nigeria and globally. (NAN)