Global Rights Nigeria Holds National Level Dialogue on the Roles of Women in Fueling/Countering Violent Extremism in the North-East

Global Rights Nigeria convenes a national level dialogue to discuss the role of women in countering violent extremism in the North-East of Nigeria.
The two day national level dialogue held from the 8th – 9th of May, 2018 in Abuja.

According to Country Director Global Rights - Ms Abiodun Baiyewu, in her welcome address, she stated that

“Violent extremism is not a strange phenomenon in our country. We have had spates of religious and ethnic extremists which we had somehow contained. However for the past 10 years, our country has grappled with the aftermath of the worst case of violent extremism. A violence which shook the very fabric of our national life. It resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of persons, and the displacement of almost 2 million persons.

While the physical violence has been somewhat contained, we still have a very long way to go – the war is not over.  The impacted communities have also been radically transformed in their socio-economic structures and constitution has been altered. What has not changed is our national approach to rebuilding and rehabilitating communities impacted by conflict.

The change in the gender dynamics in the North East region and the role gender plays in fostering radicalism are often taken for granted in developing programs to counter terrorism. In spite of overwhelming evidence in support of the notion that women in the region have been the most deeply impacted group. We fail to acknowledge the evidence that they have influenced, supported or participated in terrorist activities. More troubling is the fact that the population in the North-East has skewed to consist predominantly of women, and women headed households, and women have been participants in local vigilante activities, and yet, a gender-blind approach to countering terrorism persists.   

While the challenges women have suffered or are suffering as a result of the conflict have been to some extent documented, there have been very little attempt at understanding the conflict from their perspective, and how to fortify their resilience against future attempts at deepening their vulnerability, radicalizing them, or the households for whom their have become heads, or children for whom they are primary caregivers.  Worse still, there is a near total absence of women from dialogue tables and their equitable participation in governance in the region.

That is what this dialogue is about. It is an acknowledgment that the crisis in the North-East is a NATIONAL crisis. It is a learning moment for all stakeholders committed to countering violent extremism. It is a platform to amplify the voices of the people about who we daily make decisions – often without consulting.

Today, our country bleeds from multiple conflicts. We have a lot to contain and rebuild. Our collective task looks daunting. Our struggles, are seemingly insurmountable.
Looking at our challenges, I sometimes tend almost towards despair asking myself as you will have at some point in the past 7 years: Where do we start from.

Today, let us do this: let’s start from here. Let’s listen, lets query, that’s introspect, lets decide we can learn.
If we learn, we can strategize. If we strategize with the knowledge today will equip us with, we will win this war.”

Here is a list of guests and organizations who were in attendance:

  • ·        NERI
  • ·        Hon. Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Adamawa state
  • ·        Ms. Aisha Yesufu of the Bring Back Our Girls group #BBOG
  • ·        Sen. Aisha Alhassan, Hon. Minister of Women Affairs
  • ·        Hajja Hamsatu Allamin
  • ·        Ms. Asmau Joda
  • ·        Mr Bob Arnot, Country Lead ROLAC
  • ·        District Heads and Women Community Leaders from Baz, Gulak and Shuwa
  • ·        District Heads and Women Community Leaders from Gubio, Nganzi, Dala Shuwari
  • ·        Ms. Leslie Agams, Crisis Center Abuja Coordinator
  • ·        Maj. Gen. N.E Angbazo, Chief of Civil Military Affairs, Nigeria Army represented by Maj. H. Longpoe

Group discussions, group disseminations, summary and way forward was actualized at the 2 days national dialogue.

To still be part of the conversation or make your contributions, visit Global Rights website and social media pages.


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