A non governmental organisation, Mercy Corps, on Tuesday in Lokoja inaugurated Women Peace building Council (WPC), aimed at elevating women’s unique role in conflict prevention, peace, development and stability in communities in Kogi State.
The WPC was inaugurated in collaboration with Kogi State Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Office and Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
In his remarks during the inauguration ceremony at Government House Lokoja, Mr Maurice Amollo, the Chief of Party, CIPP, Mercy Corps, said the council was a platform that would bring together 60 women of influence from various communities and religious backgrounds to champion peace, development and stability in their communities.
He noted that the women were drawn from Lokoja, Dekina, Yagba West, and Igala Mela-Odolu Local Government Areas, to create and expand platforms for grassroots women to meaningfully address triggers of violence, gender inequities and discrimination.
Amollo added that it would enable women to be at the centre of creating and supporting sustainable peace, and be part of decision-making and peacebuilding processes at the community, LGA and state levels.
According to him, the initiative is supported by Mercy Corp’s Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) program, funded by the US Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
”It will deepen women’s engagement in peacebuilding in Kogi by strengthening their capacities to advocate for, prevent and resolve conflict.
”This event commemorates the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security.
”The program is committed to amplifying the voices of women and addressing gender gaps in conflict prevention, management and peacebuilding.
”This activity will also contribute to the United Nations’ SDG 5 (Gender Equality), 10 (Reduced Inequality) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions)”, Amollo said.
Hajia Rashidat Bello, the First Lady of Kogi State, who inaugurated the council, commended Mercy Corps, USAID and other stakeholders for the initiative and assured them of her total support.
The first lady, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Afolashade Ayoade, reaffirmed Kogi Government’s commitment to providing the necessary support for the council and other initiatives that support advancements of peace, development and stability in the state.
‘Women’s responsibility in conflict or in peace situation are very formidable, therefore, it is pertinent that women are supported to play a central role in preventing violence and in restoring peace in conflict affected communities.
”This initiative will no doubt create opportunities for women to play the leadership skills and contributes to gender equality in our societies”, she said.
Mercy Corps is implementing the CIPP, a five year peace building program funded by USAID to prevent violent conflict in the most risk communities across six in States in Nigeria’s North West and Middle Belt regions.
Other dignitaries at the occasion were: the Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs, Mr. Nasir Ohiani; Commissioners: for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Fatima Buba; Information and Communication, Mr Kingsley Fanwo; Senior Program Officer, Gender and Inclusion, Mercy Corps, Mrs Aminat Akano-Bello, among others.