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WANEP expresses deep concerns over rising conflicts in Nigeria

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•Establishes weekly live radio programme on ‘Women’s Voices for Peace’

•To implement peace projects in six states

Godsgift Onyedinefu

The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP)-Nigeria, has expressed deepest concern and dismay at the escalation of violent conflicts across the country, which has resulted in wanton destruction of lives and properties.

This is as the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), established weekly live radio programme in seven states across Nigeria on ‘Women’s Voices for Peace’, in English, Fulani, Hausa, Kanuri, and Pidgin Languages.

The National Coordinator, WANEP-Nigeria, Ms. Bridget Osakwe, in statement made available on Thursday, said the prevalence of the Boko Haram insurgency, farmers-herders clashes, militancy, secessionist movements, land disputes, power tussle, banditry and kidnappings is on the increase.

Osakwe, quoting the Round 26 Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) assessment by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed that about 1.9 million people have been internally displaced and over 50,000 people killed with numerous properties and farmlands destroyed between 20 October 2018 to 20 January, 2019.

She said the states most affected according too the DTM assessment are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe .

Osakwe noted that despite government strategies for conflict intervention State institutions cannot sufficiently cope with these interventions alone.

She added that women who are key stakeholders in conflict prevention and peacebuilding have been also underutilized and undermined in the peace processes.

“This situation has created a hierarchy where men are relied upon to develop frameworks and strategies for preventing conflict and violence torn societies at the exclusion of women as their voices remain suppressed on key issues that affect their wellbeing”, she said.

To this end, she informed that WANEP in an effort to ensure that women’s contributions and concerns are duly harnessed is implementing a project tagged “Enhancing Participation of Women in Peace and Human Security in Nigeria” with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) in six states in Nigeria.

Osakwe explained that the project is anchored on the need to respond to the impact of violent conflicts, mainstream gender capacities and promote women’s rights to participate in peacebuilding, conflict prevention and decision-making in the states in Nigeria.

The states according to her are Bauchi, Bornu, Delta, Edo, Gombe and Rivers States.

Osakwe also explained that the project builds on national policy making and implementation structures while at the same time influencing governments to be more accountable, inclusive, transparent and democratic.

“At the local level, the project builds on the decentralized government systems. It is integrated in community development processes that are already in place in local government structures.

This intervention is another contribution to the effective implementation of Nigeria National Action Plan (NAP) on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and other government policies on women, peace and security'” she explained.

She added that the projects also mirrors Nigeria’s achievements in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing+25) aimed at empowering women and girls.

She also said the WANEP is currently engaging media agencies (radio stations) in seven states across Nigeria to speak on women’s issues in a weekly live radio programme titled “Women’s Voices for Peace”.

The radio programme according to her is aired seven days of the week in English, Fulani, Hausa, Kanuri, and Pidgin Languages.

“Varied stakeholders from the civil society, academia, legislature judiciary etc both male and female who have good knowledge and experience of the issues are invited to educate the populace on the need to involve women in decision making and peace processes”, she said.

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