Abuja: In a bid to addressing the continuous killing of women and children in Nigeria, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Nigeria has called for increased networking and collaboration between relevant stakeholders.

This call was made by WANEP’s Head of Program- Mrs. Patience Ikpeh-Obaulo during a one-day strategic meeting with key stakeholders on women and insecurity in Nigeria, put together by WANEP, with support from Urgent Action Fund Africa for Women’s Human Rights, recently in Abuja. She said the aim was to respond to the impact of insecurity on women and girls by eliciting the opinion of prominent Nigerians to champion a national campaign against the killings.

“The importance of this stakeholders meeting cannot be overemphasized because the reports we receive on daily basis about the killings of women and girls in different parts of Nigeria, are disturbing.

“According to data generated from the Nigeria Security Report, 7222 fatalities were recorded between January and July 2022 with 4420 people (including 400 females, 270 children) abducted from January to August 2022 as recorded in WANEP’s National Early Warning System (NEWS).

“Additionally, the rising insecurity and kidnapping has led to the closure of schools in vulnerable communities, with a total of 11,536 schools shut down since December 2022. Currently, the northern region alone also accounts for 9 million out of the 13.2 million out-of-school.

“The meeting will give us the opportunity for increased public awareness creation on the need to urgently curb insecurity and protection of women and girls in communities in Nigeria; and also to increase reportage on the continuous killings in the country and how it affects girls and women”, she said.

Mrs Ikpeh-Obaulo said Involving women in security concerns makes everyone’s lives safer. She said women are the cradle of peace in every community. According to her, “around the world, women have been serving as the frontline responders on the local level in their communities. Their work as doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers, and in other important industries, has been vital in keeping communities, economies, and societies running amid the pandemic. We have seen the remarkable successes that many women leaders have had in containing the Covid-19 pandemic while supporting their family’s livelihoods.

The stakeholders which comprises media, civil society organizations, women groups, religious groups, came up with the folliwing recommendations: domestication of the national action plan (NAP) in all the states of the federation, increased reportage in the media on the killings in the country and how it affects girls and women, promoting increased networking and collaboration between relevant stakeholders, prosecution of offenders, involving women in decision making as it relate to issues of peace and security, quarterly women-only security forums, specifically focused on sexual and gender-based violence concerns, should be set up as a safe space for women to raise issues and propose solutions, etc.