……..PEACEBUILDING PROCESSES IN NORTHWEST NIGERIA, ISSUES RESOLUTION, COMMITMENT

By Vincess Okushi

A non-governmental organization, Global Rights, has called on the federal government, security agencies, and other stakeholders to join forces in advancing inclusive security and peacebuilding processes in the Northwest to surmount threats to lives and properties in Nigeria.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a two-day Northwest Regional Conference on Women Peace and Security held on the 16-17th April 2024 in Abuja.

The communique which was unanimously adopted by over 60 groups of CSOs, traditional rulers, including security agencies across public and private sectors, appealed for collaboration toward achieving sustainable peace, security, and development for all.

The communique which has various conflicts and security concerns resolved the need,

To promote inclusive security and peacebuilding processes that prioritize the rights and participation of women, by ensuring their leadership participation in decision-making, protection, prevention mediation, negotiation, and reconciliation efforts as guaranteed under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325).

To support and strengthen community policing structures to uphold human rights and effectively address security challenges.

To advocate for the empowerment of women through education, economic opportunities, and leadership roles in peace and security decision-making.

To address the underlying drivers of insecurity, including poverty, unemployment, and the collapse of societal values, through collaborative and sustainable interventions.

It also recommended that,

The State and all actors must ensure the active involvement and representation of women, especially women from marginalized groups, in all peace and security initiatives and decision-making processes in Northwest Nigeria.

There is a need to strengthen community structures and traditional leadership involvement in local policing efforts to enhance trust and cooperation between security agencies and communities.

There is a need to expand the geographical scope of the current intervention being implemented by Global Rights to other communities in Sokoto and Kaduna states and the wider Northwest region to maximize impact and reach.

State agencies and all other actors should implement targeted interventions that have been proven to be effective in addressing the specific risks and vulnerabilities faced by women and girls affected by the conflicts in the region, including the provision of sanitation kits in IDP camps and increased protection measures in schools.

State and local authorities must continue to ensure legal support services are readily available at Police stations to provide legal services to victims. Legal assistance schemes like the Police Duty Solicitor Service (PDSS) should be encouraged.

Existing Gender units within the police force must become specialized and the capacities of officers deployed to such units strengthened to effectively respond to issues of gender-based violence and ensure the effective implementation of gender-sensitive policies.

Law enforcement agencies should increase their engagement with civil society organizations and local businesses in complementing government efforts in community policing and security provision.

The Federal and Regional Governments should develop a sustainable and comprehensive government framework for promoting peace and security in Northwest Nigeria, incorporating input from diverse stakeholders and prioritizing inclusivity and human rights.

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