Jenna Josh-Daniels, Abuja
Women in Benue and Taraba states have appealed to Federal and state governments to prioritise emergency intervention and rehabilitation programmes for victims of communal conflicts in both states
This came as they demanded for an expansion of security votes to cover women and children affected by the conflicts between the Tiv and Jukuns in the states.
These were part of recommendations contained in a communique signed by Dr. Maryam Magaji, at the end of a 3 day Women Interstate peace building initiative conference with the theme ‘Women are Key to Peace,’ organised by Foundation for Peace, Hope and Conflict Management (FPHCM).
While cautioning political and religious leaders to desist from hate speech and under utilisation of funds meant for security personnel, the women raised concerns that although women were proportionally affected by violent conflicts situations in the state, they were still largely excluded from negotiating peace
The communiqué partly reads: “There should be adequate representation of women in decision-making and policy formulation; the 35% women affirmative action in line with the National Gender Policy should be respected by all relevant stakeholders and decision making units in the society.
“There is a need to emphasize teachings that strengthen and promote the practice of social norms and cultural values among children and youths in our societies.
“Women and youths should be equipped with vocational and entrepreneurship skills in order to promote self-reliance and sustainability.
“Effective institutionalized structures that monitor and report suspicious moves and questionable characters within communities should be established and enhanced to carry-out their responsibilities effectively.
“There is a need to encourage and advocate for the presence of state and non-state actors in the peacebuilding process.
“Women are encouraged to be vigilant in identifying and reporting early warning signs of violent conflict situations in their communities. Security votes should be expanded to cover women and children in affected communities
“The killings of persons and destruction of property has to stop./All displaced persons should be re-integrated back to their various communities
“Emergency intervention and rehabilitation of affected persons should be prioritized and perpetrators of violence conflict brought to book.
“Since farming is the major occupation of the people in this region, youths should be empowered with modern farming techniques and inputs to redirect their attention away from violent tendencies.”