How Women Ministry strengthed gender mainstream with security sectors


By Palma Ileye

Through recommendations at the 3rd Annual Forum of Women, Peace and Security Sector Reference Group the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has strengthed gender mainstream with security sectors in the country.

In a press release issued yesterday by the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Olujimi Oyetomi, stated that in June, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs with the support from the UN-Women, established the Women, Peace and Security Sector Reference Group, which is a platform for strengthening gender mainstreaming within the Security Sector Institutions.

The statement disclosed that, to maintain the viability of this group, an annual forum which brings all members together to analyze success made in realizing its objective, was introduced.

It stated that on Tuesday, 31st January, 2023, the Ministry in collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC, with support from UN-Women – Government of Norway funded project, British High Commission – BMATT and Mercy Corps, Nigeria – USAID funded Community Initiatives to Promote Peace, CIPP, convened the 3rd Annual Forum of the Group at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Headquarters.

The theme of the event was “The Role of Female Security Personnel in the 2023 General Elections”.

The Women affairs statement read, that key outcomes of the one-day conference were the recommendations made by both invited guests and members of the group which have the capacity to facilitate free and fair elections in the forthcoming 2023 general elections and beyond, if adequately implemented by relevant stakeholders.

According to the statement, the recommendations are as follows: “The security sector institutions are to ensure adequate/appropriate deployment of female security personnel for the purpose of promoting free and fair elections and safety of all the electorates especially women and other vulnerable groups.

“The security agencies are to provide capacity building trainings on gender responsive security management and response efforts to security personnel to be deployed for election monitoring, especially to ensure free and fair elections, safety of lives and properties and the protection of women (including female electorates/voters, electoral officials and contestants) from all forms of gender-based violence.

“The National Centre for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response Mechanisms should endeavour to establish key structures in hard-to-reach violent prone communities and promptly identify, report and address potential cases of
electoral violence including violence against women in elections across the country.

“The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and it’s Parastatal – National Orientation Agency are to coordinate and facilitate the dissemination of election-related information to relevant stakeholders including security sector institutions, government MDAs, CSOs, women organizations, media, traditional/religious groups, women and youth groups before, during and after 2023 general elections.

“The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is to leverage on the social media for the dissemination of relevant information, manage conflict sensitive reportage and counter electoral misinformation, and fake news.

“The Judiciary is to interpret laws that regulate electoral offences and fast-track trial of electoral offenders and perpetrators of violence, especially violence against women voters, election officials and politicians.”

It continued, “The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with the UN-Women are to sustain efforts towards the launch of the HeforShe Campaign in all the States of the federation; All the security personnel deployed to monitor the 2023 general elections are encouraged to work in synergy for maximum result.

“INEC to ensure that all political parties and their candidates sign and adhere to the Peace Accord before, during and after the elections.

“The security sector is a critical stakeholder on the women, peace and security agenda, hence the need to ensure that relevant security institutions are fully involved in the development and implementation of Nigeria’s 3rd National Action Plan on women, peace and security; Nigeria to adopt a multi-sectoral approach in the development of Nigeria’s 3rd National Action Plan on women, peace and security.”

Furthermore it recommended that, “Emerging security issues should be integrated in the policy document, including climate security, pandemics and cybercrime, key actors to be engaged in the process should include but not limited to legislators, government MDAs, development partners, security agencies, community leaders, CSOs, private sector and media at national, state and local government levels.”

While Key stakeholders were to establish/strengthen mechanisms for effective implementation, monitoring and reporting of the National Action Plan on women, peace and security in the various security sector and other relevant government MDAs and institutions.