A survey carried out by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, under the Northern Nigeria Women, Peace and Security Programme, has revealed that the response level of law enforcement agencies at local and state levels to gender-specific forms of violence is ineffective and unsatisfactory.
Baseline Report of the survey, which was funded by the European Union, was launched in Abuja on Thursday with a total of 90 partners and stakeholders in attendance, including the UN Women; United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, the European Union, Economic Community of West Africa States, ECOWAS, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, IPCR, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, among others.
The Baseline Survey was conducted in Adamawa, Gombe and Plateau States to generate findings on the nature and level of women’s participation in peace building and conflict management processes in the target states, as well as the level of access girls and women affected by violence have to reporting mechanisms and protection services.
Oluwafunmilayo Para-Mallam, a professor and leader of the research team presented a summary of the Baseline Survey Report, highlighting some of the findings.
She stated that women are conspicuously marginalized from the top hierarchy of decision-making structures, adding, however, that they are active in intra-family peace building and conflict management.
Para-Mallam explained that “cultural and religious factors limit women from being engaged in formal peace negotiations. At state level, women have low decision-making powers, particularly in elective posts which are as follows: Gombe (0%), Adamawa (6.3%) and Plateau (9.2%).’’
Earlier in her welcome address at the launch of the report, the UN Women Programme Manager, Women, Peace and Security, Njeri Karuru, said the aim of the survey was “to understand at what level women are engaged in peace and security structures in target states of Northern Nigeria.”
She said that it was worrying that women are hardly engaged in peace-building, but expressed optimism that the report will “provide relevant information for policy and strategic programmatic interventions on peace and security by stakeholders at all levels.”
“We also look towards strengthening partnerships with those who are working on peace and security issues,’’ she said.
The event also featured an interactive session where participants shared experiences and discussed the need for security agencies, especially the Police, to protect women suffering from Gender-Based Violence.
Special commendation was reserved for the women vigilante groups in Adamawa State who work to provide security for their communities.
There were also presentations from UNICEF and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.
Copies of the report were distributed to all participants at the event and it is expected to provide relevant information for policy and strategic programmatic interventions in peace building efforts, and to create awareness of the gaps in women’s engagement in peace and security in Northern Nigeria.