The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, on Thursday called on the leadership of the military to deploy more women soldiers for internal security operations, adding that the impact of the female gender must be adequately unleashed in tackling the insecurity facing the country.
Mrs Buhari noted that Nigeria was facing security crisis partly because the armed forces had yet to redefine the role of women and explore their potential for operational effectiveness.
She stated this while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Defence Headquarters maiden annual conference on women peace and security at the National Defence College, Abuja.
The one-day conference is themed, ‘The imperative of gender mainstreaming in the Armed Forces for operational effectiveness.’
The wife of the President, who was represented by a Senior Special Assistant, Dr Hajo Sani, said, “The security issues bedeviling our country still abound probably because we are yet to redefine the Armed Forces of Nigeria to explore the potential of women for operational effectiveness. Women possess the traits of patience, perseverance, and passion.
“There is a need for the reformulation of laws and policies that border on the inclusion of women in the strategic reformation of effective operational deployment. The wide margin and lack of flexibility in structures based on gender should be abridged.
“ Women are restricted to careers within supportive mustering of military community such as finance, human resources, personnel, logistics, medical services and welfare. I join the military women to take exception to such psychological oppression.”
The the Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, said, “Currently, the Armed Forces of Nigeria has attained 27.7 per cent female participation in peacekeeping operations. This is higher than the UN recommendation of 17 per cent.
“These women are given equal opportunities like their male counterparts, including commanding major combat units and flying fighter jets for the air force.
“The Nigerian Navy has also deployed women as sailors and for other key aspects such as ship maintenance.”