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April 23, 2024
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Nigeria Military women

Insecurity: Ex-AU Permanent Rep advocates more women inclusion in military

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

A former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, Nkoyo Toyo, has stressed the need to include more women in the military architecture for present and future security of the nation.

The former Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa, made the call on Friday in Abuja, in a paper presented at a One-Day seminar on International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024.

The seminar was organised by the National Defence College Officers Wives Association (NDCOWA) in commemoration of IWD 2o24.

Nkoyo in her paper titled “Non-Inclusion: A Future Precipice” stressed the need to make military recruitments of the future more diversity and inclusion based to prepare the country against security challenges.

Participants at a One-Day Seminar on Women’s International Day organised by the National Defence College Officers Wives Association (NDCOWA). on Friday in Abuja

The co-founder of Gender and Development Action (GADA) said that there was the need for the military to tap into opportunities that would be available in the future to address the nation’s security challenges.

“The future of warfare is likely to focus less on firepower and more on the power of information and the way it connects a military’s forces through the concepts of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR).”

According to the former member of House of Representatives, what security sector architecture should the country have in place by 2050 and should non-inclusion of our diversities be an option?.

“I believe reviewing the question from a futuristic standpoint, anyone in the hierarchy of the military will not fail to champion for the inclusion of women and draw attention to challenges their future absence may cause.

“When we talk about women, we are not referring to one category but drawing attention to women in their diversities.

“Historically, Nigeria has used various tools of inclusion to address ethnic, religious, background, geography and others but has not done enough to compel women’s participation as part of this diversity matrix.

“With the new and emerging forms of technology driven warfare, security must be seen more from a prevention and protection of lives and property perspective than the deployment of troupes.

“If this be the case, the inclusion of women has become an existential imperative and so is the analysis of its many as other forms including categories like transgenders and Transsexuals.”

Nigeria Military women

According to her, by 2050 which is 25 years away, the youth bulge, where more than 50 per cent of the population are under 19 years will grow.

She said that currently, 0-4 years made up the largest age group of 8.3 per cent males and eight per cent of females, adding that Nigeria had one of the youngest populations in the World.

She noted that by projection, the population of Nigeria would be 401 million by 2050.

“So, the inclusion of women into the security sector of the future must be both a function of numbers and strategic engagement.

“This fact cannot be separated from a future where Nigeria becomes even more dominant in the sub-region and Africa as a whole.

“The military of the future Nigeria is an important component of her new identity and purpose.

“Such an army with the corresponding security architecture has to answer the yearning of the four years who will be 29 years in 2050 and part of the 400 million Nigerians,” she said.

Nigeria Military women

She said that non- inclusion was a matter of national security and the failure to investigate and deal with women’s inclusion and other inclusions in 2024, would lead to existential gaps in 2050.

“I have no doubt that seeing the way non state actors with no loyalty to country or state are engaged in providing security, the recruitment and use of women will not be limited to armies of the future.

“In the quest to win, opponents will exploit our weaknesses and use all existing gaps to make us non competitive and less inviolable.

“My point, therefore, is that with a technology driven world, choices have been defined already and women can no longer be excluded. The challenge should be how to speed things up.”

She said that there was the need for Nigeria of men and women in the security sector who can protect her now and in the future.

“The gender lense we wear today, must point us clearly to the security needs of the country for the future. This is much more than just a paper presentation, it’s a call for action,” she said.

The Commandant National Defence College (NDC), Rear Admiral Olumuyiwa Olotu, in his remarks described women as the backbone of the nation, especially the military.

He said that the occasion was to celebrate the achievements, strengths resilience of women across the globe.

“I once again explain my heartfelt wishes to all incredible women here and out there, my mother, inclusive, who inspire us with their unwavering determination and commitment to excellence.

“We are indeed the backbone of our society, and to our mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and friends who make our lives brighter every day,” he said.

Commandant, National Defence College (NDC), Rear Adm. Olumuyiwa Olotu

He noted that NDC had also established a gender desk to among others promote gender mainstreaming and industry.

“The desk collaborates with other government and non- governmental organizations, in organizing programmes, workshops, seminars and so on gender related issues and awareness.”

The Coordinator of NDCOWA, Mrs Rhoda Olotu, said IWD was dedicated to promoting gender equality, to inspire inclusion in all spheres, and to celebrate women’s empowerment and strides.

According to her, the significance of celebrating IWD is to emphasise the need for ongoing efforts to address the challenges faced by women and to promote their full participation in the society.

“This day is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made by women in all states of life, which includes education, military, business, politics, science and technology, amongst others.

“One of the goals of International Women’s Day is to empower women and to ensure they have equal rights, inclusion and opportunities.

“This means breaking down discrimination, social norms and creating a more inclusive society where women feel value and respect,” she said.

She urged women to contribute their quotas to the development of the economy and the nation as a whole. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)


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