FG committed to protecting dignity of women, girls in conflict areas – ONSA official

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FG committed to protecting dignity of women, girls in conflict areas – ONSA official

Rear Admiral Yaminu Musa, Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Centre, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) said on Monday that the Federal Government “is determined to protect the dignity of women and girls caught in the web of terror”.

Musa said this at the presentation of `Nigeria Training Module on Gender Dimensions of Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism’ in Abuja.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presentation of the training module was a collaboration between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Union (EU), and ONSA.

The coordinator added that the training module would help increase women’s and girl’s participation and leadership in peace-building, conflict prevention, and resolution.

He said that it was imperative that a significant part of the challenges required a more robust gender-sensitive approach to criminal justice responses to terrorism.

Musa said that Nigeria, through its Policy Framework and National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism adopted in 2017, had demonstrated awareness of the vital importance of a gender perspective in counter-terrorism.

“ All concerned actors from law enforcement, security, and criminal justice require specialised technical training on gender dimensions of criminal justice responses to terrorism.

“This would involve enhancing the capacity of women and men in law enforcement, security and judicial systems to adopt gender-sensitive practices throughout the investigation,’’ he said.

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Also, Mr Oliver Stolpe, UNODC Representative in Nigeria said that the module touched on the most pertinent issue of gender in counter-terrorism context.

He added that the module sought to correct the misconceptions and inherent biases perpetrated by gender-blind security and criminal justice responses to terrorism.

According to him, the situation often results in operational ineffectiveness, discrimination against women, their under-representation in law enforcement, and exclusion from decision-making processes.

He said that the training module acknowledged that women suffered a significant brunt of terrorist acts, resulting in their displacement and large-scale socio-economic deprivation.

He said that while such women could be “strategically targeted by terrorist groups using rape, abduction, sexual slavery, and forced marriages as tools and tactics of terrorism, they could also be willing perpetrators and enablers of acts of terrorism.

“The consideration of a gender perspective in counter-terrorism becomes, thus, imperative.

“The training module has benefited from the inputs received over these two years by our partners in Nigerian criminal justice and civil society as well as the technical contribution received from colleagues at the Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights, UN Women, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CETD) and UN Team of Experts on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

“This collaborative process has ensured that the module is closely aligned with the needs and requirements of the Nigerian counter-terrorism community while drawing extensively on international and regional best practice standards,’’ he said.

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In her remarks, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Budget and National Planning said that the presentation was aimed at providing opportunities for panelists and participants to discuss ongoing efforts at addressing the issues at stake

Ahmed, represented by Mr Johnson Barayei, the Assistant Director, International Cooperation said that the module covered major aspects such as the examination of different impacts and current approaches to criminalisation, and terrorism-related offences on men and women.

Others are the links between gender dimensions of counter-terrorism and the advancement of gender equality, women’s right and the women, peace and security agenda.

NAN reports that the module had the collective inputs of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states as well as the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Women Affairs, the Department of State Security, the Army, Air force, and National Judicial Institute.

Other contributors are the Police Force, ONSA, international federation of women lawyers, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, and the National Human Rights Commission.