(News Investigators)/ Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, says promotion of peaceful coexistence and encouragement of women to take leadership positions in various communities are plausible means of preventing violent extremism in the country.
Mrs. Obi disclosed this at the “2nd Women Summit on Preventing Violent Extremism in Kogi State”, on Tuesday in Lokoja.
She said there was a higher percentage that the country would attain greater endearing peace when women were entrusted with leadership positions to drive development process.
Represented at the Summit by David Haba, Manager, Humanitarian and Resilience, ActionAid Nigeria, Obi noted that violent extremism was becoming a major challenge for many societies.
She said it was a threat to security and fundamental rights of citizens especially women all over the world.
“It is true that while women rarely take part in conflicts, they often bear the aftermath of an effects of violence ranging from psychological emotional and physical loss which continue to occur even after the conflict has ended.”
She held that women were prone to violent extremism saying that of the 970,000 migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe from violence prone-Middle East, 17 per cent were women and 25 per cent were children.
According to her, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2015 report says operations of Boko Haram have displaced 1.2 million people internally in Nigeria and forced more than 200,000 Nigerians to flee to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
She noted that most of the victims were women and children.
She, however, commended the Kogi government for its commitment and maintenance of peace but stressed the need for government to increase its investment on women issues.
Declaring the summit open, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Folasade Ayoade-Arike, called on women to keep close eye on their children and to advise them against being used by politicians as thugs in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The SSG reiterated the state government’s willingness to partner any agency that could assist the state in curbing violent extremism and other vices likely to ruin the future of women and their children.
Speaking earlier, Bolanle Bola-Olorunsaiye, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, commended ActionAid for the summit.
She noted that the summit would provide the platform for a robust, deep and continuous advocacy about the scourge and trend of gender violence in the state.
The commissioner said “we are taking proactive measure and also collaborating with relevant agencies and partners to support policy strengthening, and institutional capacity building towards delivering interventions that address gender based violence, women, peace and security.”
Mrs. Bola-Olorunsaiye commended organisers of the summit, ActionAid Nigeria and Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) for their constant willingness to partner the Ministry and the impactful programmes of the SERVE II project in the state.
The summit attracted no fewer than 1,500 women from the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.