In order to build a just society in which women girls, and other vulnerable groups will enjoy equal opportuni- ties, rights and obligations in all spheres of life, Nigeria developed its first National Policy on Rights of Women in the year 2000. This was replaced with the National Gender Policy in 2006 as a result of review and integration of lessons learnt from the implementation of the first policy.
A key lesson then was the need to work from a gender perspective, even though the key purpose remains addressing issues of women’s rights. Women’s rights include the right to live free from violence and discrimination, the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the right to be educated, the right to own property, the right to vote and be voted for. But as we all know many women and girls still face discrimination on the basis of sex and gender; this gave rise to the review of the 2006 National Gender Policy Training programme Recently, a training was organised for security personnel on the implementation of the revised 2021-2026 National Gender Policy (NGP) and mainstreaming it into all their projects. Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Aliyu Shehu Shinkafi said the three-day training will build the capacity of the participants on the NGP and infusing it in their projects and pro- grammes. The bottom line is to promote gender equity and women empowerment in the security sector. Shinkafi recalled that the first policy was developed in 2000, but replaced in 2006 following the review and integration of lessons learnt in the previous years.
The review was to address current issues af- fecting women and girls. He noted that effective implementation of the NGP will go a long way to address- ing traditions, customs, sexual stereotypes or social roles and cultural prejudice that militate against women’s full participation in national development. He explained that the strategic objec- tives of the revised National Gender Policy were to: bridge gender/social inclusion gaps and achieve parity in all spheres of life; protect women’s human rights and mitigate sexual and gender-based vio- lence, through appropriate buffers and re- lated services; explore and fully harness women’s human capital assets, as a growth driver for national development through women’s economic empowerment. He also listed other goals as to advance women’s participation and representa- tion in leadership and governance; sup- port women and girls’ education, lifelong health, survival and sustainable development; ensure that gender equity concerns are integrated into social protection and complex humanitarian actions, legislation and policies and ensure that socially excluded groups such as persons with disabilities, the elderly and the poor are mainstreamed into development projects and programmes of the government.
He noted that the provisions of the National Gender Policy were in line with the Federal Government’s aspiration of achieving a gender sensitive Society and inclusivity in national economic growth and development. He urged all security personnel’s to take the training seriously, and ensure that gender perspectives were main- streamed into projects and programmes implementation in the security sector, for equitable national development. Shinkafi noted that effective imple- mentation of the National Gender Policy will go a long way to addressing tradi- tions, customs, sexual stereotypes of social roles and cultural prejudice that militate against women’s full participa- tion in national development. The participants A total of 100 participants were drawn from the security agencies across the country.
These include the State Securi- ty Service, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigerian Army, Ni- gerian Navy, Nigeria Drug Law Enforce- ment Agency, Nigeria Air Force, National Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Correction Service, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. Olabisi Aina, Researcher and Lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, said the National Gender Policy aims to promote gender equality, women em- powerment, human rights and inclusion. Aina, who led the discourse on the 2006 Gender Policy for Nigeria, stressed the need for security organisations to mainstream gender in all their affairs to bridge the divide in the society. She urged them to enhance operational effectiveness, strengthen human rights and rule of law, promote sustainable peace and security, fulfill international commit- ments and strengthen public trust and legitimacy. AIG of Police, Aisha Abubakar-Baju, reiterated the commitment of the police force in prioritizing all issues affecting women and children in the society. Abubakar-Baju, said that the police is currently working on reviewing the revised NGP and mainstreaming it into all their programmes to promote gender equity, justice and inclusion. Similarly, Maj. Nneka Olimma, Gender Officer, Defense Headquarters, reiterated their commitment in infusing gender into all their programs to promote peace and security in the country. Olishina Ajao, Deputy Superintendent of Corps, Nigeria Security Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC), said mainstreaming gender perspective in security operations will curb Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and en- sure the involvement of women in peace and security. Ms Mariam Dacree, Gender Adviser, Department of State Security Services (DSS), said the training would provide a platform for security operatives to network, establish relationships and col- laborate with one another towards imple- menting the policy.