Insecurity: Women network offers tips to FG

The Nigerian Women Mediators Network (NWMN) has charged the federal government to build a strong collaboration with women community women in its efforts geared towards tackling insecurity.

The women said a bottom-to-top approach was the best strategy for any sustainable peace process.

National Coordinator of the network, Prof. Iyom Joy Onyesoh, gave the charge in Abuja during the media launch of #SheMediates campaign by the network as part of activities to mark their one year anniversary,.

She said women at the community levels “have a wealth of indigenous knowledge about issues happening around them.”

Onyesoh said, “As mediators, we realised we couldn’t speak to some issues because we do not have facts on ground and we had to send fact finding mission of different groups to ascertain the facts and that helped us to collate data and also got to know what is happening on ground.

“It is important to build a sustainable collaboration with community women because they have a wealth of indigenous knowledge that when we come as experts and because they know the community better we support them to bring out facts.”

According to her, to achieve lasting solutions to the insecurity situation, all stakeholders involved in either escalating or de-escalating conflicts needed to be seated at a conversation table to ensure all issues were adequately addressed.

“We cannot have any conversation outside these stakeholders. Where conflicts happens, the women mediators network will sit down with the different stakeholders to discuss and come up with sustainable solutions,” she said.

Earlier, the Co-National Coordinator,Hajiya Lantana Abdullahi, expressed concerns on the growing security challenges, disclosing that the #SheMediates campaign was established to have a united women’s voice that will drive home the message and bring leaders to accountability.

“We are at crossroads but we cannot despair or lament only. Women have what it takes to mediate during conflicts because we are most affected. That is why we are mediating because we need to get involved in resolving issues at all conflict levels,” she said.

The Lead Communication Team for the network, Lady Nkiru Celine Okoro, said the need for a change of strategy in the approach to tackling insecurity.

She urged government to bring women to the decision tables of peace processes as current result is not speaking to citizens expectations.

“Anyone who does the same things over and over and expects a different result only shows that something somewhere is not right.

“From the ravaging Boko haram continued insurgency and killing of innocent Nigerians in North East, to the October 2020 #EndSARS protest and its aftermaths to the depressing consequences of COVID 19 Pandemic, and the attendant loss of jobs and livilehood opportunities, Nigeria and Nigerians are in need of healing for progressive growth and development.

“Nigerian Women mediators are the superheroes that step in, stand up and speak out against violence. They are the first responders, who negotiate with armed actors to get food , medicine and humanitarian assistance to the most needy, help the displaced and the victims of rape and torture, and call for dialogue instead of more deaths to resolve conflicts.

“When others are fueled by fear and mistrust and cannot imagine living side by side together in peace, Nigerian women mediators are envisioning a different future, where violence does not determine lives. They’re building communities as the space for trust and acceptance, where pluralism, equality and dignity for all is valued,” she said.

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