The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has stressed the need for women inclusion in military related services to promote and realise gender equality.
Aregbesola made the call during the official launch of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Gender Policy at the Corps’ Headquarters in Abuja.
He said that women had been relegated to the background for ages, adding that human society has been organised largely on gender assigned roles.
According to him, it was for this reason that military duties are seen as the forte of men, while women are considered best suited for domestic chores.
The minister however argued that contrary to this belief, science had shown that women are genetically, biologically and emotionally stronger than men and therefore physically strong and suited to military service.
He said apart from these attributes, there were other feminine advantages that women could bring to service which would be lost if they were not given due consideration.
“For instance, women are very loyal, far more loyal than men, to every cause they are in.
“They are also more result oriented. The records have shown that women produce more and better results than men in nearly every assignment.
“It is even more compelling, that the notion that men are physically stronger than men, is a myth,” he said.
He stressed that where women receive the same level of training (with the same intensity) with men, the men do not have any physical advantage over them, as studies have shown.
“For all these reasons and more, there is therefore no reason to keep subjecting more than half of humanity to discrimination, thereby losing out on their abilities and other endowments,” he said.
He expressed delight that in the four agencies under the ministry of interior, there were no discrimination against women, adding that with the gender policy been put in place, things could only get better.
The Interior boss further said that the nation had faced security challenges in recent time with the long-standing insurgency in the North East, banditry in the North West and North Central, farmers-herders clashes all over, kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery and sundry criminal activities all over.
He said that these challenges had been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, adding however that the Nigerian security agencies have risen strongly to face them.
“I am in no doubt that they will soon become a thing of the past.
“All hands therefore must be on deck. All our human resources, including women, must be maximally deployed to face this task,” he said.
He commended the officers and men of the NSCDC for their commitment to duty, sacrifice, valour and gallantry.
“I continue to receive good reports on you and therefore enjoin you to continue to shun corruption and other acts capable of bringing shame and disgrace to your person and the agency; but to keep the flag flying and the light shining brighter and brighter.
“I must thank also all our partners for their faithfulness and support given to NSCDC and the ministry in general,” he said.
The Commandant General of the NSCDC, Ahmed Audi on his part noted that the NSCDC Gender Policy was consistent with international, regional and national obligations towards gender mainstreaming and gender equality.
“It outlines strategies for addressing violence against women and gender based violence with the main objectives of promoting equal advancement of women and men in all sectors.
“The formulation of the NSCDC Gender Policy was anchored on the outcome of a gender assessment exercise conducted in three formal security institutions in 2019 which included NSCDC, by Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN).
“It was done in partnership with UN Women with funding support from the government of Norway and Germany,” he said.
Audi revealed that the assessment exposed a low level participation of female officers in decision making processes and leadership positions in the Corps.
He added that it was the need to address the observed gender inequality in the Corps that gave birth to the NSCDC Gender Policy.
“You will recollect that in May, female combatants in the NSCDC graduated from their training and have since been deployed for service in line with the NSCDC Gender Policy.
“I wish to state with a sense of pride that the NSCDC Female Squad have indeed been exceptionally outstanding and have exhibited a high sense of commitment, professionalism, zeal and energy to deal with the arduous task ahead.
“Let me reiterate my commitment to the promotion of women’s right and empowerment and to give male and female officers of the Corps equal opportunities particularly in terms of representation, advancement and participation,” he said.
Other guests at the occasion were the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen and Ms. Comfort Lamptey, UN Country Representative to Nigeria and Ecowas.
Others include, representatives of the Chief of Defence and Army Staff, representatives of CGs of Immigration, Correctional Service, the Inspector General of Police as well as the Ooni of Ife.