The Country Director ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi, said promotion of peaceful coexistence and encouragement of women in leadership positions in various communities are plausible means of preventing Violent Extremism in the nation.
Obi who disclosed this at the “2nd Women Summit on Preventing Violent Extremism in Kogi State” in Lokoja said peace would be attained when women leaders in communities were allowed to drive the process.
Obi who was represented at the Summit by Mr David Haba, Manager, Humanitarian and Resilience, ActionAid Nigeria, noted that violent extremism was becoming a major challenge for many societies and a threat to security and fundamental rights of citizens especially women all over the world.
“It it is true that while women rarely take part in conflicts they often bear the aftermath of an effects of violence ranging from psychological emotional and physical loss which continue to occur even after the conflict has ended.
She held that women were to violent extremism saying that of the 970,000 migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe from violence prone Middle East, 17 per cent were women and 25 per cent were children.
According to her, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2015 report, operations of Boko Haram had displaced 1.2 million people internally in Nigeria and forced more than 200,000 Nigerians to flee to Cameroon, Chad and Niger adding that most of the victims were women and children.
She however, commended the Kogi government for its commitment and maintenance of peace as she stressed the need for government to increase its investment in women issues to enhance curbing of Violence Extremism in the State.
Declaring the summit open, Dr Folasade Ayoade-Arike, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), called on women in the state to hold their children firm against being used by politicians as thugs in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The SSG stressed the willingness of the state government to partner with any agency that could assist the state in curbing violent extremism and other vices that could ruin the future of women and their children.
Speaking earlier, Mrs Bolanle Bola-Olorunsaiye, the state Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, commended ActionAid for the summit saying that it provided for a robust, deep and continuous advocacy to take the scourge and trend of gender violence in the state.
On the part of government, she said, “we are taking proactive measures and also collaborating with relevant agencies and partners to support policy strengthening, and institutional capacity building towards delivering interventions that address gender based violence, women peace and security.”
The Commissioner therefore commended organisers of the summit, ActionAid Nigeria and Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) for their constant willingness to partner with the Ministry and for the impactful programmes of the SERVE II project in the state.
The summit attracted over 1,500 women from the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.