By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Government at all levels have been urged to make laws that will ensure that both men and women are considered when programmes, draft policies, and decisions are made.
This was the crux of a one day roundtable colloquium on Gender Inclusion in Community Development Committees, organized by Connected Development (CODE) and OXFAM, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Speaking to The Sight News, the OXFAM Nigeria Lead on the Conflict and Fragility Project, Mr. Henry Ushie, stated that there is a need to promote transparency and accountability within the extractive sector and to promote community inclusion in terms of gender participation in Community development.
He noted that as gender experts,they are working to balance both male and female participation in decision making, and access to resources.
He averred that the budget which is a policy instrument necessary to address gender inclusion, needs to be participatory, adding that consultations should be made to ensure that both genders are carried along in terms of the projects that goes into the budget and its implementation.
According to him, “We must continue to sensitize both genders to know that they also have a right, we must educate our citizens to know that it is a democracy and everybody should participate.
“We encourage Federal Government to bring on board all the policy instruments and laws that should promote gender inclusion in its operations,” he ended.
For her part, Ojonwa Miachi, CODE’s Project Lead for Oxfam/CODE Conflict and Fragility Project, stated that the objective of the Conflict and Fragility Project, is to improve accountability and transparency in the extractive industry which is quite opaque.
In her words,”Most of the income of the country comes from the extractive industry, so why should citizens not know how much comes in and goes out and how these companies engage with host communities. What happens to taxes, how is it tied to education, healthcare and infrastructural development in general and how can Nigeria make sure it is as transparent as possible?
“We are trying to ensure that women are included in local community Governance processes, especially in the extractive communities where decision making processes take place without them,” she said.
While noting that CODE is working to bring key actors at community levels to see how they can get women involved in the governance process, she stated that there is a decline of women in parliament in Nigeria and it is a set back to the country.
“Women being in politics is one of the most important determinants of development for a country, as these women will have knowledge of what is in the budget, healthcare education, cross party activities. We want the government and political parties to live by example,” she added.
Miachi, urged women to unite, identify their challenges, fight for their rights and to do all they can to get educated, so as to achieve leadership positions within Nigeria.
In an interaction with the participants on the critical challenges faced by women in being part of leadership, they listed culture, religion, lack of cooperative spirit amongst women and patriarchy as some of the challenges, and called for proper education and sensitization of citizens and Community members to solve these challenges.