NCWS tasks army on implementation of gender policy

The National Council for Women Societies (NCWS) has urged the leadership of the Nigerian Army to ensure the implementation of the Armed Forces of Nigeria Gender Policy.

National President of NCWS, Hajia Lami Lau, made the call when she paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, on Thursday in Abuja.

Lau said the visit was to see ways of strengthening collaboration between the army and NCWS to ensure robust and holistic approach to addressing the multifaceted security challenges facing the nation.

She commended the Nigerian Army for taking the lead in promoting gender and affirmative action for women through the Armed Force Gender Policy that was inaugurated in 2021.

According to her, the policy seeks to among others, ensure 35 per cent affirmative action for women and achieve increased women involvement in recruitment and enlistment, training, retention, promotion, posting, operations, amongst others.

She said that a policy could only be relevant by the extent of its implementation.

“Perhaps, this visit will offer us the opportunity to hear from you Sir, on the steps the army is currently taking to actualise this lofty vision by the full implementation of the gender policy.

“This is particularly important to us as NCWS because just as I earlier stated, the council’s vision is built on ensuring gender inclusiveness and increased participation of women in decision-making processes.

“We believe the full implementation of the Policy will take care of the structural challenges that tend to militate against women’s advancement in the military.

“There have been reported cases where women were prevented from participating in combat duties and only restricted to the supportive aspect of the military such as welfare, human resource, personnel, logistics, and medical services.

“We must move from policy to action by ensuring a gender culture in the Nigerian army,” she said.

Lau said the security issues bedeviling the country still abound probably because the security architecture had not been redefined to fully explore the potential of women for operational effectiveness.

She said that ensuring gender equality in the effort to address violent conflicts in Nigeria in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was critical to achieving lasting solutions.

According to her, evidence indicates that women who participate in peace processes are usually focused less on the spoils of the war, rather their focus is majorly on reconciliation, economic development, education and transitional justice which are all critical elements of sustained peace.

“For this cause sir, we must recognize and implement the three pillars of the women’s peace and security agenda which are protection, prevention and participation,” she added.

The National president pledged the willingness of NCWS to collaborate with the Nigerian army to ensure gender mainstreaming in armed forces.

Responding, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, assured the women of his commitment to ensuring full implementation of affirmative action in the Nigerian Army.

Yahaya said that efforts were being made to give women a sense of belonging by exploring their potentials in their areas of competence, adding that it was work in progress.

He said that women were being given opportunities in all army units and corps, adding that the establishment of the Women Corp was a step further.

According to him, there are areas that are best fitted for women and this is universal, even in the advanced armies.

The COAS said the current recruitment of specialists like medical personnel into the army would afford more women the opportunity to get enlisted in to the army.

He assured the women that Nigerian army would partner with NCWS on its projects and programmes.

Edited By: Sumaila Ogaje (NAN)

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