Promotion of Women’s Engagement in Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria


Ogbeifun Louis Brown

It is with gratitude to the Almighty God, the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP), the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), the UN Women, and other collaborating partners of WANEP and IPCR; that I stand before this august gathering to rub minds with our esteemed audience, on the “Promotion of Women’s Engagement In Peace And Security In Northern Nigeria.”
The choice of this theme is not only apt but coming at an auspicious time. The theme is also consistent with the thoughts of discerning and rational minds that are tirelessly working towards finding lasting peace within the precincts of Adamawa, Gombe, Plateau, and the adjourning States.
Every nation strives to have peace to survive the vagaries of present-day negative political and socio-economic impacts. No country can achieve any meaningful development without peace; talk less of meeting or achieving the Millennial Development Goals (MDGs). Without peace, education, health, social, and security systems would be overtasked and gradually begin to fail. To that extent, peace becomes a necessity and a phenomenon of inestimable value. As a nation, to have sustainable peace, which would help society enjoy its derivable benefits, it should be planned for, implemented in an assiduous, systematic, and strategic manner.
According to Agada Elachi (2018), peace is not achieved by accident. Peace must be worked for. It must be designed into the workings of society. Peace being an essential component for societal well-being must be woven into the fabric of society. In other words, for real and actual peace in society, it must be an integral part of the framework of that society.” Successful democracies build peace architecture on a tripod of fairness, justice, and equality. These elements do not also come to be through accidental processes. They are functions of in-built stabilizing mechanisms, providing a useful avenue for the ventilation of pent-up frustrations, “citizen security, justice, and jobs”, and serving as a check on divisive centrifugal forces to decapitate the current level of violence (World Bank, 2011).
Going by our history, our peace plans tend to have mostly been ad-hoc in nature. No wonder the current socio-political landscape points to one thing – that peace is scarce in our dear country, especially in some of the Northern States.  Daily news items on the electronic, print and social media platforms paint gory pictures of possible end times, in which life seems meaningless, cheap to bandits, insurgents, and militants. This type of situation enthrones fear, uncertainties and foists a state of hopelessness on the people.
Leaders at all levels, especially those steering the state ship’s wheels, should be stress pacifiers and hope carriers. The constitution saddles them with the planning and putting in place objective and practical strategic measures for tackling a country’s security challenges. But if out of frustration, such leaders direct their citizens to pray because the government’s best does not seem to be good enough, it is like saying, everyman unto himself and God for us all. That isn’t very comforting. This is the situation we have found ourselves in and the stack reality in our country. To overcome this, we must put aside our gender differences to collectively fight for and secure our future peace.
As we transit from Boko Haram insurgency, we now have terrorists masquerading in the guise of herders and bandits, purportedly fighting to reclaim green areas for their cattle. In the last few months, Nigeria has been confronted with daily killings in the North East’s minefields. Herders-farmers clashes have been on the increase. There has also been an unrelenting wave of kidnappings and an upsurge in cultism among very young Nigerians. Compounding this state of Nigeria’s insecurity is forming a new insurgent group that the Nigerian Army tagged “Hakika Islam.” The new group is said to have strange doctrines similar to that of Boko Haram. The group was said to have started recruiting men and women with operational bases around Ngworore, in Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State and Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State (Kilete, M. 2018). Adherents are said not to believe in the traditional Islamic teachings. If this group got nurtured into maturity, they would likely see Muslims and Christians as infidels, which would have laid a grand design for another brutal round of deadly operations against humanity. I do not think we have that luxury of time, lives, and properties for this new group. Therefore, we must urgently begin to seek early warning forecasts and possible outcomes of their modus operandi before they start their killing spree.

The online dictionary defines it as something, which is necessary, indispensable, exigent, pressing, and urgent.
Merriam Webster defines security as the quality or state of being secure such as:
a) Freedom from danger (safety).
b) Freedom from fear or anxiety.
c) Freedom from the prospect of being laid off job security
The above are embedded in the duties a responsible government owes the citizens. In Nigeria, Section 14.2(b) Nigeria’s Constitution state. “the people’s security and welfare shall be the primary purpose of government.”
Just like health has been defined as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” (WHO, 2017), let me
by extension define peace, as a state of an integrated phenomenon, a science and an art, in which there is interest accommodation in the psychological, environmental, political, physical, and socio-economic well-being of a system and not merely the absence of dysfunction, conflict, war, strike or violence.”
Putting the theme of this engagement in a proper perspective, I believe that if women were given the opportunities or good platform(s) for promoting women’s engagement in peace and security processes, and in line with the integrated approach, we would perhaps be engaging in sustaining the process on this platform today.
Second, though the United Nations and other partners have done a lot towards the integrative project actualization, we are yet to get to the Promised Land. The above definition of peace would, therefore, mean that in a nation where peace reigns, in which there are no dysfunctional states like wars, conflicts, and violence; society should have some level of:
i. Harmony
A country needs a high level of a harmonious relationship among the different parts of society, where every citizen has a sense of patriotism, tolerating each other’s nuances, inclusive gender balance, collaboration, and striving towards nation-building. Unfortunately, either by omission or commission, inclusive gender balance and cooperation have been misinterpreted to mean excluding female folks from peacebuilding, peacemaking, and peace negotiation processes. The reasons for this are not farfetched.
First, many orthodox, conservative religions and cultures generally do not allow women to participate in peacebuilding processes across the nation, except in counseling women and encouraging them to be obedient to their husbands.
Second, in our clime, males have arrogated to themselves the primary dominance of the overall power to political, family inheritance, moral, and socio-economic leadership. These patriarchal orientations severely restrict the female folks from inclusive participation in so many decision-making processes.
Third, to no small extent, it is erroneously believed that the main reason for creating the woman is to be a helpmate, consigned to the ‘other room,’ be heard, and not be seen, with the overriding expectations of looking after the needs of the man and making babies. Besides, many people generally but erroneously believe that the “woman” is a fragile and delicate structure, just because she was created from the man’s rib at the foundation of life (Genesis 2:21-22). Therefore, she should not be exposed to any manner of social and moral authority. But this narrative has to change because, according to Roosevelt, E.“A woman is like a teabag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water” To confirm Roosevelt’s assertion, the holy books are historically replete with insights into women’s emergence as intelligent and strategic planners.
In pre-monarchial Israel, those that superintended over kingdoms and the places of worship were majorly men. But it is instructive to note that as early as 1125BC, Deborah was a prophetess and a judge in Israel. According to Boakye, (2018), “the word ‘judge’ ordinarily did not mean then what it means now. A judge in Israel was a tribal leader.” As the people’s leader, she was a strategic planner, the Commander-In-Chief of the tribe’s army. She was involved in resolving conflicts in her domain, promoting peaceful coexistence with her neighbors, and ensuring security for her people’s good. An example of her bravery and organizing capability is reflected in the battle against the Canaanites. At that battle, her military head was afraid because they had a weaker army. But she strengthened Barak, and in the end, the Canaanites with a superior army fell.
In Nigeria, there were very many pre-colonial riots successfully planned and prosecuted by market women who were not technocrats nor schooled in the art of trade union practice. The colonial-era women riot at Aba, Owerri, and Calabar rose to protest the imposition of stifling taxes imposed on them by the Warrant Chiefs’ and other policies inimical to their progress. Their efforts led to the reversal of the imposed tax policies and curbed the Warrant Chiefs’ powers, while others resigned (Boakye, 2018).
ii. Physiological Needs:
Access to food, potable water, security, clothing, shelter, sleep, sex has been acknowledged as necessities for man’s existence and self-preservation. These needs are also necessary for human survival, not just for a season, but from cradle to death. According to Maslow, these Physiological or deficiency needs represent the very first level of human needs. Juxtaposing this with our present state of affairs, we cannot state in good conscience that most people, especially women, have easy access to all of these needs. Apart from the high level of poverty in our country, we have so many very young girls that should be in school forced into early marriages in the troubled regions under reference. The negative impact of this has been severe and irreversible damages done to their reproductive organs, and therefore, incapable of raising their own families. It is also known that where these psychological needs are not met, they inevitably result are aggression (McLeod, 2007), and ultimately conflict (Burton, 1990), which if not promptly addressed, could result in protests, violence, crisis, and possibly wars.
iii. Socio-economic dimension
We have hordes of young Nigerians that are deprived of the basic needs of life. They abound everywhere. So many have been abandoned to cater for themselves in the guise of fulfilling religious obligations. Others were driven to the streets because relations perceive them to be witches or wizards, and some due to no one to provide food for them. They beg for alms to eat during the day and sleep in the open under bridges in a mosquito-infested environment at night. For these Nigerians, their water comes from unclean sources, and they would most times go to bed hungry. The elderly is also not spared the agonies of insecurities and lack of basic social safety nets. Time was in the mid-1990s to early 2000s, when many military men who fought to keep Nigeria one was all over Abuja’s major highways, begging for alms. That in part led to the enactment of the 2004 Pension Act. The female folks share the negative impacts of the low social safety nets, facing terrible harassment and rape. When we juxtapose all these with happenings in the North East, one can only hazard a guess as to why it is effortless for Boko Haram, bandits, killer herdsmen, and kidnappers to have easy access to countless and willing foot soldiers for their armies.
In present-day Nigeria, we have so many Deborahs. For example, Purefoy (2010) found that Queen Hajia Ahmed of Kunbwada, is a traditional ruler, and perhaps the only traditional woman ruler in conservative Northern Nigeria. Her functions include settling marriage disputes, land disputes, and keeping the peace.
Very many writers tend to dwell more on the hazards of having the men at the receiving end of those that constitute the bulk of our productive segment, who are lost to banditry, militancy, and insurgency. Unfortunately, this has been the narrative for justifying non-integrated gender mainstreaming approaches, which excludes women from peacebuilding, peacemaking, and peace negotiation architectures. They forget that women also suffer so many throes from violence and societal dysfunction.
However, research has shown that women bear the brunt of most violent crimes’ outcome(s). As a mother, they lose their sons and daughters to wars, insurgencies, and militancy. As wives, they lose their husbands and fiancées with severe emotional trauma and consequences. As females, they lose their dignity to sexual harassment, rape, and forced by insurgents into suicide bombing missions because of their vulnerability. They are also forced into marriages to male insurgents and or conscripted into the Boko Haram army as direct foot soldiers, which actively participate in prosecuting the senseless war against the Nigerian state. As citizens, they lose their voices to ethnoreligious and cultural biases. Besides, women tend to form the majority in most of the internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) camps within the North East.
According to Peace Direct (2017), “Most of the post-conflict plans for the North East largely excluded women from the peace process rebuilding plans. Similarly, the 714 pages Buhari Plan – the Presidential Committee’s working document on the North East (PCNI) – only emphasizes gender-based violence with palliatives such as economic empowerment and psychological support. The lack of substantial gender inclusion similarly applies to the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST). None of these blueprints have put women at the negotiation table, nor do they work effectively to redress the alarming gap in women’s participation in the governance processes that predate the insurgency. They have also not adequately explored the intersectionality between gender, peace, and security, and the centrality of gender in CVE and preventing violent extremism (PVE).”
The questions arising from the above, if women were fighting on the side of the government in the military as air force jet bombers, in the camp of Civilian Joint Task Force as foot soldiers fighting against the Boko-Haram group, being forced to play the roles of wives and home managers to male insurgents, is it not, therefore, an imperative to mainstream women in taking frontline roles in peacebuilding? Why is it difficult to improve the use of women in peace and security architecture? Again, this could be partly explained by the fact that we seldom use African-based solutions to resolving African-based security challenges. For instance, there is excellent security awareness in advanced nations, and security is everybody’s business. There is also equal access to education. In such climes, girls’ abduction in large numbers and the use of teenage female suicide bombers is a rare phenomenon. In Nigeria, almost 98% of electronic and print media are owned and managed by men. Women occupy strategic positions in some media organizations and have tried to use such platforms in advocating for women’s empowerment. However, most of the faces that appear on screens are men. In most cases, these men represent the big conservative religious organizations pontificating and advocating for women’s empowerment.
Secondly, some of the reasons for these unfortunate narratives could be adduced to a high level of poverty among many of our women folks, who must think first of how to provide food for their hungry children and unemployed spouses. To do this, they engage in menial jobs almost all through their lives, petty trading, and therefore, have no time to think of what the fortunate few from the cities cascade down to them on peace and security. Other reasons for this trajectory include lack of the economic reach for media
sponsorship, lack of awareness on how to get help for necessary advocacy and information, social media naivety, skewed conservative religious beliefs of women taking the back seat and seen but not to be heard. Some women have been brainwashed to believe that canvassing for their empowerment and rights would amount to asking to share equal powers with their spouses is against God’s wish for a virtuous woman.
However, the agitation for that empowerment has never ceased. The Beijing Conference on women in 1995 could be the major plank upon which gender and development gained increased legitimacy and acceptance (El-Bushra J, 2012). Besides, in its transformation agenda, the African Union (AU) also adopted gender equality in peace and security matters. The passing of the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security in 2000, tend to have been the highest point that forcefully brought to the fore the carving out of appropriate and institutional frameworks and roles for women. The resolution supports women’s inclusion in peace prevention, management of conflict, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, response to humanitarian needs arising from post conflicts, rehabilitation of victims of gender violence, and encouraging all global actors to include gender balance in promoting peace and security.
A decade after that conference, the pace of implementing the action plans in the initial document, which was an ice breaker in the realm of engaging women in peacebuilding, did not meet with the speed expected to effectuate its intendments. The delay necessitated the Secretary-General’s proposal of a seventeen-point plan to galvanize the international community, address the outstanding blockages of women’s participation in peace processes and post-conflict recovery (El-Bashura 2012).
Cheerfully, 18 years after the conference resolutions, several nations had latched on the resolution to domesticate their National Action Plans (NAP). With the support of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) and UN Women in 2013, it is gratifying to note that Nigeria also joined others to launch her first National Action Plan (NAP) domesticated the UNSCR 1325. Even though it took about
thirteen years to domesticate the UNSCR 1325, the first action plan still had its flaws in the face of the emerging violent extremism, militancy, and insurgency, necessitating the second NAP launching. However, it is encouraging to note that states like Delta, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, Rivers, and Yobe states have also supported the NSRP and domesticated NAP in their states. One must indeed commend the UN Women, WANEP, IPCR, other Civil Society Organizations, which have done well in promoting women’s engagement in peace and security at some levels, especially in conflict zones.
Sadly, I have noticed that so many organizations in our clime build beautiful and eye-catching cosmetic structures tagged ‘headquarters’ in the states’ or the country’s capital. These offices are staffed and managed by elites who do not know what the rural communities go through. The government offices have aesthetically designed signage, lavished furnishings, and massive office spaces. These government organizations are underfunded and under-motivated, and cannot, in my opinion, have the right momentum to get women out for this great imperativeness of mainstreaming a gender-sensitive peace architecture as an urgent national assignment. All these organizations justify their continued existence is to invite some of the rural stakeholders with no capacities, embark on hollow training projects, and do photo shows to impress their big bosses for continuous budgetary allocations. In the end, the critical contents and outcomes remain unachieved. That is the difference between other interventions and what the UN Women had done with this peace initiative.
Peace destabilizing factors include but not limited to:
⦁ Conflict narratives from the different groups in conflict, which tend to give skewed self-serving narrations of events as it favors them.
⦁ Jaundiced media appraisal of conflict.
⦁ Global processes that prescribed open borders without commensurate effective border security.
⦁ Transnational border crimes.
⦁ Procrastination and lack of proactive attention to security issues.
⦁ Corruption, money laundering, and maladministration.
⦁ Non-adherence to the rule of law.
⦁ Concentration of democratic and administrative powers at the center with attendant poor governance.
⦁ Socio-economic inequalities.
⦁ Population explosion without a commensurate increase in productive ventures.
⦁ Drug, and human trafficking, drug abuse.
⦁ Proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
⦁ Increasing freelance fighters driven from their conflict infested environments e.g., from the Sahel region.
⦁ High youth unemployment rates.
⦁ Strict control of land and natural resource ownership by the government.
⦁ Increasing desertification.
⦁ Hate speeches from the pulpit of spiritual leaders.
⦁ High incidences of the 6-11 girl child school drop out with attendant human trafficking, pre-adolescence marriages, etc.
⦁ Terrorism, Herders-farmers conflict.
⦁ Agitation for resource control.

Flowing from the above and the topic chosen for this discourse, it is only rational and exigent on us, as a matter of priority, to do the needful by ensuring that a gender-sensitive peace architecture becomes imperative. Simple as this might seem, it is a fact that this might not be very easy to mainstream gender sensitivity into peace-architecture because of the very many complicated elements.
First, religious and cultural barriers to gender equality in these three states of Adamawa, Gombe, Plateau cannot be underestimated. Second, the experience and the roles of donor agencies to determine which sets of criteria or model to adopt, which is generally dependent on their background, amount of funding available, focus, and objectives, are common factors that should not be overlooked. Three, juxtaposing the affirmation principles to the government’s policy agenda and the realities on the ground, the outcomes might not reflect the ideal as espoused by the United Nations. Fourth, the ruling elites lack the political will to promote gender sensitivity in peace architecture because of personal and or selfish interests. Five, there is a lack of in-depth gender analysis that could serve as the foundation for making rational decisions on the topic under reference.
1. Use peace architects like the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), WANEP, IPCR in building the capacities of coalition partners and the vulnerable in society.
2. Review the country’s civic education programme to focus on de-radicalization strategies from the early years at the primary school level.
3. Improve the girl child’s training and access to qualitative education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. For school dropouts, efforts should be geared towards engaging them in structured vocational studies and empowered with starter packs.
4. Target females in the provision of scholarships and grants in mediation and other peace and conflict resolution studies.
5. Emplace self-esteem targeted realization programs, which would engender improved inner motivation, building their confidence to reduce the inferiority complex within the socio-cultural spaces.
6. Protect the vulnerable against women’s abuses and violations in different parts of the country, especially in the IDP camps.
7. Provide a conducive atmosphere and support the implementation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) 1325.
8. Improve the processes of rescue, relief, recovery, and rehabilitation of abducted female victims.
9. Include more women in peace and security instead of the majorly male-dominated conferences and workshops.
10. Advocacy and targeting peace talk from early stages in elementary schools through all the streams of education endeavors.
11. Teach Sex education early in life to guide behaviors. Though this is usually frowned at in most places, this is one sure way to create awareness in the growing girl and build resistant strategies.
12. Faith-based organizations should deliberately focus on the delivery of value-added sermons and messages to families and society. The messages from such organizations should encourage hard work and the love of your neighbor principles, etc. The preaching of prosperity miracles without works tends to make people believe that manna that ended in the wilderness is still very much available even while sleeping and doing nothing.
13. Create competent peace coalition partners who could diagnose and press the amber signals as early warning systems before it turns red.
14. Engender quick response strategies to escalate conflicts rather than wait until conflict reaches the crisis phase before the intervention.
15. Develop the capacities of community-based peace-prevention, peacebuilding, and sustenance gender-inclusive organizations for proper monitoring, evaluation, and quick flagging of the vulnerable groups in the three states.
16. Use traditional rulers who are closer to their subjects in any peacebuilding process.

According to the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (2016), “Peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding refer to a range of integrated approaches that incorporate security, diplomacy, humanitarian response, reconciliation, and economic development. These approaches aim to end violence, confine threats, rebuild communities, heal from trauma, and address the causes of conflicts. Accordingly, the “architecture of peace” refers to spatial structures that attempt to build, make, or keep the peace and the vast impacts that these strategies have on the ecological environment.”
Therefore, flowing from the above, constructing any peace architecture is not synonymous with peace and light. The practice of a proper design and the construction of an enduring peace structure is a complex process. It has its convoluting alleys, which need patience and skills to navigate. Human behaviors are, most of the time, reactive. This reactive nature makes conflict analysis difficult, and therefore, should be considered in the peace construction process. Also, the process involves enormous resources, ingenuity, innovation, efficiency, and time in focus. For an enduring peace process to evolve, peacebuilding architects, strategists, designers, and planners should methodically combine the ingredients of peacebuilding tools with efficient time management. With the acquisition of the skills of peacebuilding and a thorough analysis of the issues, the process of establishing an efficient and sustainable peace architecture becomes less cumbersome and less expensive.

The complexity and the need to use peace architecture professionals in the peacebuilding process was brought to the fore by Reychler (2002) who opined, “the image of peace architecture, suggests that peacebuilding is not only a science but also an art, where imagination and creativity are essential parts of the building process. This conveys the need for professional peace architects and architectural teams, and it draws attention to the key principles of the architecture process.”

a. Identify issues that would necessitate the building of a peace architecture.
b. Define and analyze the issues.
c. Identify the form of peacebuilding architecture needed to resolve the identified issues, the skills of actors required, determine the resources necessary for the venture, the best platform to be deployed for the project.
d. Generate options from available approaches and models.
e. Choose the options that best suit the implementation plans.
f. Engage blockers to ensure that they do not pose a threat to the process.
g. Implement chosen actionable items; and
h. Evaluate and put in place a well-looped feedback mechanism.
For a successful implementation of this process, leadership should be critically examined and determined. A weak and selfish leader could derail the entire peace process. Besides, resources and capacity building of the gender coalition should be adequately provided to meet implementation timelines.
i. Political and socio-economic uncertainties. For instance, the National Assembly is currently on recess, the Judiciary is on vacation, and the Executive arm of government is also partly on holiday. What is now prevalent in the polity today is the 2019 election at the expense of providing efficient and effective running of governance infrastructures at all levels. This definitely would result in the sense of deprivation, injustice, and frustration. The resultant effect could be unwittingly providing the political space with an agar plate for further violence and anarchy.
ii. Repressing the inalienable rights of the citizens.
iii. Lack of access to necessities of life like food and shelter. iv. Breeding a critical mass of illiterates that could easily be radicalized.
iv. Selfish and greedy leaders.
v. Jettisoning of the rule of law in everyday governance space vii. Increasing levels of deprivation and inability of the citizens to meet their most basic needs.
vi. Deliberately creating and elongating the gap between the haves and have not.
vii. Inconsistent application of the rules of engagements by the international community.
viii. A deliberate attempt by the politicians to use religion as a divide-and-rule vote-catching tactic.
ix. Delayed action in reaching out to nations in transition in the tackling of insurgencies.
x. Inability to inculcate nationalistic instincts as a propelling force that would motivate people to work towards nation-building.
xi. Exclusive nationalism, tribalism, and gender imbalances
xii. Inability to react to extremism, fanaticism, militancy, and insurgency at the latent and emergence stages,
xiii. Improperly structured security architecture.
⦁ An effective communication system is a condition precedent for a successful and sustainable peace architecture. Communicate the shared vision, what they have left behind, the lacunae to be filled, and what is being done to galvanize them to move on beyond their pains. Deployment of common language and understanding of concepts is critical.
⦁ Developing short, medium, and long-term goals through processes of consultation, collaboration, and negotiation.
⦁ Buy-in of the political elites.
⦁ Making resources available.
⦁ Providing a level playing field for gendered systems and subsystems
⦁ Multilateral cooperation of Mutual trust
⦁ The integrative moral-political climate, characterized by the expectation of an attractive future resulting from cooperation, a replacement of exclusive nationalism with multiple loyalties, reconciliation and dismantling of sentimental walls. Political, economic and security cooperation at a multilateral level and a critical mass of internal and external peacebuilding leadership (Reychler, Luc 2002).
⦁ Involving more women in peace education.
Gender Integration Centered Approach (GICA)
While acknowledging that women are mostly excluded in formulating and implementing architectural peace systems, I think it is most appropriate to canvass for a broad-based inclusive peacebuilding team focusing on fairness and justice for all. Some Donor Agencies tend to focus on one of the genders or demographic attractions that it feels a sense of need to work with. Efforts should be geared towards putting in place interventions that promote gender integration. However, a proviso should make it mandatory to assign roles to all the segments of those participating in the peace process.
In extreme disparity in the demographic spread, there might be a need to do a thorough analysis of the different groups, use a multilayered approach, and create a single-phase forum, which would allow for individual engagements as the demographic mix dictates. Where culture and religion become barriers to Cross-gender Centered Approach embedded in the GICA, it may become necessary to assign different roles to different groups among a single-gender framework, which would allow for open and honest interactions engender synergy between the leadership of the group and other groups.
For instance, in some states of the federation, culturally, the younger ones cannot look at elders in the face and cannot stretch hands for a handshake unless the elderly did so first. In a hierarchical and command structure, seniority might play a dominant role, which does not permit the junior person to speak except permitted to do so. Even when permitted, that junior persons must moderate the manners of presentation. In most instances, instead of speaking to the issues, the junior person supports the senior person’s position, playing only, or simply keying into what the senior person has proposed. In some climes, religion does not permit women to mix with men. All these would kill creativity and innovation. Therefore, attention should be given to details if a group in a peacebuilding endeavor had a diverse mix.
For the peace architecture’s goals and objectives to be met, planners and designers should create a multilayered single interface process, which would allow the harvesting of all views through different single-phase engagement platforms, where they could work in smaller committees. At the end of the committees’ work, they shall make recommendations to the plenary to harmonize and select action points.
This approach, the Gender-Relational Approaches (El-Bushra 2012), is based on a strategy of benefit sharing and solidarity building between men and women, looking at socialization mechanisms, promoting dialogue between men and women (for example, to address violence against women) or address vulnerabilities experienced by men that are often overlooked (for example as victims of sexual violence or as potential recruits into militias or gangs).
This approach is dependent on the strict adherence to the cascade process flowing from the statutes of the UN, the AU, and the member states, implementation of domesticated statutory legislation, action plans, and resolutions. This means that Nigeria should strive to focus and implement all-inclusive peace architecture, promote women’s engagement in the value chain of peace and security architectures, as enshrined in domesticated statutes. To this effect, there should be a deliberate attempt to remove barriers in the frontiers of peacemaking, peacebuilding and, peace negotiations, and protection of the vulnerable against abuses and violence, etc.
1. Find ways of dealing with a selfish and self-centered bureaucracy, which sees peacebuilding as another money-minting opportunity or a means to an end for themselves and their cronies.
2. Emplace integrated and fully funded peace platforms that can bring peace researchers and the beneficiaries of the peace outcomes closer to the field’s professionals.
3. Use peace architects to train children from very early ages and reduce the incidence of radicalization from extraneous sources.
4. Improve in the training of the girl child education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
5. Women themselves must carry out ceaseless advocacies that do not reflect the supplanting of the patriarchal culture but that as freeborn, they also have inalienable right to participate in resolving conflicts in which they are heavy casualties.
6. Alter the hierarchical narratives through the renegotiation of political, socioeconomic powers. It is not enough to target the 35% affirmation principle without targeting where they could wield political influence that would change these narratives to their advantage.
7. Target females in a deliberate manner in the provision of scholarships and grants in the fields of mediation and other peace and conflict resolution studies.
8. Improve the balance between people’s economic contribution and the level of services they receive from the state’s “Gender-sensitive budget” (measuring the proportion of budgets allocated to activities that meet the different needs of women and men) is one way of checking how far services respond women’s concerns. This can be extended to raising other equality concerns (El-Bushra, 2012)
9. Provide targeted esteem realization programs, which would engender improved inner motivation, building their confidence to reduce inferiority complex within the socio-cultural spaces.
10. Protect the vulnerable against women’s abuses and violations in different parts of the country, especially in the IDP camps.
11. Provide a conducive atmosphere and support for the unencumbered implementation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) 1325.
12. Improve the processes of rescue, relief, recovery, and rehabilitation of abducted female victims
13. Include more women in peace and security forum instead of the majorly male-dominated conferences and workshops.
14. Make Funds available for advocacy, peace plans, and research.
15. Advocate and target peace talks from early stages in the primary schools and sex education, which is frowned at in most religions.
16. Improve family and societal values.
17. Stop the use of ad-hoc planning and implementation approaches to inclusive peace security architecture.
We all have different roles to play in bringing peace to the doorsteps of every Nigerian. Peacebuilding and design have the elements of the ‘I’, ‘You’, ‘We’, the government, and other social dialogue partners. The time has come for all hands to be on deck to reclaiming our lost sleep and peace spaces already taken over by terrorists and bandits. The men must believe that women can rise to the challenges in the management of peace architecture. As a country, we should begin to emplace effective systems, redirecting citizens’ paradigms into growing feelings of nationalism over parochial, tribal, and religious interests.
For the women, Amitabh Bachchan said, “because you are women, people will force their thinking on you, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet, and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgment. Make your own choices in the light of your wisdom.”
Lastly, the government must, as a matter of urgency, should reassure Nigerians that peace will soon return to our land and reaffirm to the citizenry that we are all equal and safe wherever we may be living in Nigeria as contained. In one accord, let us leave this room believing that we can all make Nigeria great again.

Thank you for Listening.



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