The Acting Director, Centre for Gender and Women Studies, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, Dr. Vivian Njamanze has called for concerted action against gender-based violence and insecurity ravaging the country.
The scholar made the call yesterday during a 2-day maiden national conference organized by the Centre for Gender and Women Studies of the University. Themed “Gender Issues and Emerging Security Challenges in a Pandemic Era”, the conference brought together notable academics, counselors, right activists, security experts, women advocates and senior military officers who compared notes and proffered solutions to the menace of insecurity and violence against women.
Declaring the conference open at the Needs Assessment Building, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Sunday Elom, observed that Gender and Women Studies would be critical in arresting the numerous challenges facing women in the 21st century, adding that the establishment of a Centre by the University in that regard was her contribution to the advancement of gender and women studies in Nigeria.
The Vice-Chancellor who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Dennis Akoh said “I doubt if there is any serious-minded university in this century that has no Centre for Gender and Women Studies”, adding “Any university that is yet to have a Centre for Gender and Women Studies, is not yet ready for the challenges of the 21st century.
Also speaking during the event, the National President, Gender Studies Association of Nigeria, Prof. Pat Nwamuo said the association was doing a lot, especially in sensitizing people on gender issues and counseling both the victims and perpetrators of gender-based violence in order to have a saner society, explaining that they were also engaged in teaching parents on how to counsel their children and thereby raising general awareness on gender issues in Nigeria.
In her contribution titled “Education, Gender and Security in the Workplace”, the former Vice-Chancellor, Abia State University, Prof. Mkpa Agu, stated that Gender is not necessarily sex but socially constructed environment for males and females to play their respective roles.
Speaking further, he laid the blame for insecurity in Nigeria on unemployment, cultural values, corporate social irresponsibility among others, emphatically concluding that the security education of the masses is important in arresting incidences of insecurity in the society.
Earlier while presenting her welcome address, Dr. Njamanze noted that the Centre was established in 2019 with the mandate of enhancing the plight of women through advocacy, training and gender studies, and used the opportunity to call for partnerships, investors and donors to aid the Centre in discharging its mandates.
She further stated that the theme of the conference was as apt and topical, describing the state of insecurity in Nigeria as worrisome, adding that women are mostly victims of violence and other forms of insecurity.
Continuing, Dr. Njamanze said “The heightening security challenges in the country deserve urgent and all-round attention. Therefore, keeping quiet will amount to a very costly oversight by the ivory tower”, adding that “even the blind can see that there is insecurity in the land, in our homes; everywhere we are, insecurity stares us in the face”
She however, pointed out that unemployment is one of the root causes of insecurity and gender-based violence in Nigeria, noting that if the youths were employed they will not have time for kidnapping and other violent crimes. She also blamed poor leadership for most of the challenges facing the country, especially insecurity.
Other resources persons at the event were the Ebonyi State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Christopher Okorie, the Commandant, Command Secondary School, Abakaliki, Col. N.C.M Achikasim, the Acting Commanding Officer, Special Women Battalion, Nkwagu Military Cantonment, Abakaliki, Major E. M. Emukande and a curriculum expert and lecturer in the Department of Education Foundation, AE-FUNAI, Dr. Solomon Obih.