AU commission seeks to partner Nigeria against violence

19 -Bineta-Diop

AS violence against women continues to attract more global outrage just like its spread, governments across borders and regional agencies, among others, are lending voices against the menace, with the African Union (AU) Commission now seeking to collaborate with Nigeria.

The major focus of the collaboration is the rescue of the adducted Chibok girls, the fight against women violence in general terms and the worsening insurgency in the country.

This assurance was given in Abuja during an interactive session with a network of women non-governmental organizations, with delegates from the African Union Commission, led by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission’s Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, Mrs. Bineta Diop.

Diop said the AU was willing to help in finding solution to the country’s present security situation occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency, especially against the abduction of women and their violation.

According to her, the delegates were in Nigeria for one-on-one discussions with women from the North, to interact with policy makers and engage students as a way of finding solutions to the challenges.

“One of the objectives of our mission to Nigeria is to discuss with women from the North and we have been discussing with both men and women. We are just here to understand what the issues are,” she said.

“We are here to know how we can help to contribute to the solution. We know that when we mobilize together, we can win the battle. We think at the end of the day, we will understand the situation and take the suggestions made back to Addis Ababa.”

She emphasised that the concrete suggestions by the coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), which would be submitted in January, would help greatly in their advocacy. She further explained the commission’s seemingly quiet posture on the Chibok girls before now, stating that the AU believed that Nigeria would be able to solve the problem on its own.

This is especially when it had solved the problem of Sierra Leon and many others as the giant of Africa. Now that it is apparent the country might not be able to tackle it alone, she said, it is expedient that the AU steps, and by next year, the commission will be focusing on empowerment of African women.

She added: “Now, if we don’t pay attention to this, it might escalate. We thought that the missing Chibok girls will stop there because Nigeria has the power to solve such problems, so we needed not to come here. We have seen Nigeria defeating other problems because they also solve the problems of Liberia and many other countries.

“Nigeria is a giant in terms of economy. Individually, we have been campaigning for this issue of Chibok girls. You can tell us how we can be of help to you; tell us what we can do to stop the phenomenon. We are willing to support on women violation and protection.”

Also speaking, Niger Ambassador to Ethiopia, Diallo Amina Djibo, said there was need for solidarity among African countries to resolve the Boko Haram issue, noting that Boko Haram is not the problem of Nigeria alone, even though the solution to it will come from Nigeria.

“We are putting together a joint mechanism to ensure that there is border control, so that we can curtail some of the issues fueling Boko Haram such as arms transfer,” she said.