As political activities for the 2023 general elections hot up, the need for women to be protected and allowed to effectively participate has been stressed.
The assertion was made by the National Programme Officer UN Women Peace and Security (WPS), Ms Olubukola Ademola-Adelehin while speaking in Bauchi during the opening of a three-day stakeholders workshop on the second phase of the implementation of the WPS project in Bauchi.
She observed that women have been left far behind in the political process of the country due to some issues that have been introduced into the political process thereby making it difficult for women to participate actively.
Olubukola Ademola-Adelehin added that because of the fragile nature of women, they cannot engage in the strenuous aspect of the political process the need for violence to be eschewed from the process.
The WPS National Programme Officer also called on Stakeholders who working on the UN Women, Peace and Security phase 2 programme in Bauchi State to do everything possible in order to strengthen the mechanism towards effective implementation of the State Action Plan.
The National Programme Officer UN Women Peace and Security in Nigeria also said that the second phase will mainly concentrate on Kaduna and Plateau states as new entrants in order to catch up with those already in the program.
She added that the already established structures in Bauchi and Benue states would be strengthened to ensure expansion to other local government areas as well as women’s political inclusion and peaceful 2023 elections.
According to her, “What we would be doing specifically is to support the networks that have been established, support technically- financially as much as possible to ensure that they are able to develop activities that they would be implementing”.
She added that “It is also another opportunity to see how the Mediators Network Support, how the He4She Network are using their various platforms to advocate for more MDAs to devout more budget and to implement the state action plan on women issues”.
Olubukola Ademola-Adelehin however noted that the 3-year programme is to be implemented by the Women Mediators Network, State Implementation Committee, He4She Network, Ministry of Women Affairs, relevant MDAs and other department partners.
Earlier while declaring the Workshop opened, Bauchi State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Child Development, Hajiya Hajara Gidado said that the WPS programme has helped the state in tackling the challenges limiting women’s advancement and participation in the peace process through the establishment of sustainability structures.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Sama’ila Ahmad Hajara Gidado appreciated the Norwegian Government, UN Women and International Alert for the technical and financial support.
She however reassured of the commitment of the state government towards the realization of the objectives of women’s participation and involvement in political activities and leadership in the state.
The Commissioner said that “This is also a clear testimony of the state government’s support in the cause of women that bridges the gap of marginalisation in the state”.
According to her, “I believe that the underlying inadequacies of mainstreaming women’s concern and achieving equitable, socio-economic development in the state would soon be achieved with the mechanism for sustaining the gains in our system”.
The Director, of Women Affairs in the Ministry, Malama Fatima Abdullahi, appealed for the expansion of the programme to the remaining sixteen non-participating local councils in the state.
She promised to ensure full implementation of the second phase of the WPS through robust engagement by all those required to make the programme succeed.
In his remarks, State Coordinator of He4She Network, Mr Jinjiri Garba John expressed happiness that so far, the prog has succeeded in the state as it embarked on various advocacy visits to relevant personalities and agencies.
He said that the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abubakar Y Suleiman is one of the champions of He4She in the state saying that the action plan has been signed by the Governor, Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir.
Representative of the Women Mediators Network assured that members of the Network will continue to mobilize women, particularly in the areas of participation and involvement in peace and security processes.
Phase one of the UN Women WPS programme which initially started with Bauchi, Benue, Gombe and Adamawa states, has now been extended to Kaduna and Plateau states with over $ 2 million in additional funding from the Government of Norway so that it will be expended from to the year 2024.
The WPS phase 2 is working to ensure the development of a third National Action Plan, robust legislative engagement, strengthening of established structures as well as women’s political participation and mediation among others.
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