By Marie-Therese Nanlong

As the 2023 general elections approach in Nigeria, the Deputy Ambassador, Government of Norway in Nigeria, Skjølaas Ingrid has canvassed for an equitable process saying all people deserve representation in the most important decision-making institution in their country.

She emphasized that although women’s representation in political institutions and processes is important in its own right, “it is also fundamental to economic growth and development” which are fundamental to peace.

Speaking in Jos during the launch of the second phase of the UN Women Peace and Security, WPS programme in Plateau State, the diplomat noted, “I am very excited to be at the launch of this important project which Norway is proud to support.

“Since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security, the positive and decisive role played by women in peace processes has been widely acknowledged by the international community.

“The inclusion of women has shown to be crucial, not only in matters of women’s rights but also to improve operational effectiveness, build resilience, prevent and resolve conflicts and to sustain peace…”

She maintained that “Inclusion of women is not only the right thing to do, but it is also the smart thing to do – because societies where women participate in the workforce, in politics, in peacebuilding and conflict resolution simply do better.”

Also, the Deputy Country Representative and Officer-in-charge (OIC) UN Women Country Office in Nigeria, Lansana Wonneh commended Plateau State on the efforts and successes recorded over the years in accelerating the women, peace, and security agenda.

The OIC disclosed, “The overall objective of the programme is to realize a more peaceful and gender-equal society by creating an enabling environment for the implementation of internationally agreed commitments, including through policy intervention and capacity building support to women in line with the provisions of the Security Council Resolution 1325.”

The State Governor, Simon Lalong, who declared the event open, asked that women inculcate the values of peace in the society through the good upbringing of their children.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the State, Danladi Atu, he noted that “part of the challenge we have today is not about putting in place beautiful profile but about true peacebuilding which when inculcated in the youths, will go a long way in promoting peace and stability in the state.”

He maintained that the State has put in place the gender-based law and the girl child law to address some of the challenges faced by women and the girl-child and urged stakeholders to collaborate to tackle the issue of drug abuse and drug trafficking among women.

Earlier, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Rebecca Sambo expressed hope that the programme would enrich women in peace and security.

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