Over the past two decades, Nigeria has experienced increased levels of insecurity and violence which has claimed many lives and property. The state of insecurity has affected virtually every aspect of social and economic development and women have so far been especially affected by such violence and insecurity because of their peculiar roles as homemakers, caregivers as well as their relatively poor economic status.
Unarmed women and children thus continue to bear the brunt of massacres that occur in different parts of the country, especially in northern Nigeria. The mass killing that occurred in Jos, Plateau state in 2010, for example, resulted in the death of many Nigerians most of whom were women and children. To date, the number of the victims affected by that massacre has not been confirmed. In recognition of the precarious situation that women found themselves in that tragedy, many women organized a peaceful “wailing” protest in Abuja demanding justice and protection from such attacks. The massacre brought about condemnations from both local and international agencies and government officials. It also brought to light women’s interest and role in peace building processes that aim to provide rehabilitation for victims of conflict and establish preventive systems.
Recent events of conflicts, bombing of commercial and public places in Nigeria show that conflicts must be managed, not ignored and there must be concrete efforts for peace building. Such processes must also be completely inclusive of all interests represented in the country. Without peace there can be no meaningful development and without women’s involvement in the design and implementation of policies and programs on conflict resolution and peace-building such activities will fail to achieve its purpose. On October 31 2000 the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR1325), stating in article 2 of the Resolution: “Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision- making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution”. In addition, various other international and regional instruments as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states clearly women’s right to protection in conflict situations and their involvement (without discrimination) in peace building and conflict resolution processes. Nigeria is signatory to a host of such international instruments and laws.
BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights in recognition of the rights of women in conflicts situation and peace building process dedicates her 2013 calendar to women in conflicts. The 2013 calendar highlights quotations from legal instruments that outlaw violence against women in conflicts and recommend women’s involvement in peace-building processes.