By Sumaila Ogbaje
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has assured that the Nigerian Army would continue to encourage women to participate in different operations across the country.
Buratai gave the assurance when the Leadership of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) FCT Chapter, paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday in Abuja.
The delegation was led by the Chairperson of the Chapter, Mrs Stella Okoh-Esene, as part of their advocacy in commemoration of the 2020 International Women’s Day.
Buratai disclosed that with the establishment of the Nigerian Army Women Corps, the service had given more women the opportunity to discharge their constitutional roles effectively.
He said that many female personnel had participated in different army operations across the country, adding that many of them had performed credibly in those operations.
According to the COAS, the army is a gender sensitive institution and the rights of women have remained sacrosanct, parts and parcel of the Nigerian army’s focus both on our operations and general administration.
“I want to assure you that the theme of the 2020 International Women’s Day is quite apt as you mentioned, Gender Equality Realising the Rights of Women.
“We have realised the importance of women in the army a long time ago but now we are putting them into their proper perspectives of proper roles.
“Since the establishment of the Nigerian Army Women’s Corps, they have participated virtually in all the roles being performed by the men.
“They actively participated in a show of force in the nation’s security, they have participated in Operation Harbin Kunama, Crocodile Smile and even Operation Lafiya Dole.
“I want to assure you that we will afford the women in the Nigerian army equal opportunity and we have long realised and accorded them their rights,” he said.
Buratai, however, urged the women to empower themselves financially, educationally and strategically to be able to fight for equality and contribute to the development of the country.
He added that the army would continue to discharge its constitutional responsibility in protecting the territorial integrity of the country and support the civil authority.
Earlier, the Chairperson of NAWOJ said the visit was in commemoration of the International Women’s Day week to reflect on achievements of women.
Okoh-Esene said that NAWOJ deemed it necessary to appreciate the Nigerian army for fostering peace in the Northeast in particular and the country at large.
“We are here to support your office in solidarity for the giant strides that have been achieved in conflict resolution and security matters in Nigeria.
“Nigerian women are asking for equality, equity, development and peace but let’s ask at this juncture that can we have all these in a war-torn country?
“We know we are not where we aught to be in terms of security but I make bold to say that we are not where we used to be.
“It behooves on us women professionals in the forth estate of the realm to acknowledge the role of the military in fostering internal peace and protecting our territorial integrity.
“We acknowledge your role in paving way for the inclusion of more women in the military and we acknowledged the way you have remained undaunted in the face of challenges as you continue to map out strategy toward defeating our common enemy.
“It will also be our delight to see insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and others crushed to the barest minimum if not completely wiped out,” she said.