The Federal Government and European Union (EU) in Abuja on Monday signed a 10 million-Euro (N2.1 billion) financial agreement to support women’s engagement in peace and security programme in Nigeria.
The Supervising Minister of National Planning Commission, Mr Bashir Yugudu, signed on behalf of the Federal Government while the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Michel Arrion, signed on behalf of the union.
Yuguda said the grant was to create mechanisms to enhance women’s participation in peace building in five northern states of Benue, Plateau, Kano, Kaduna and Gombe.
He said the programme would be implemented by UN Women in close collaboration with UNICEF.
The minister recalled that EU approved the programme in 2013 with 10 million Euros because of the instability that affected women and children in some northern states.
“By authorising the financing agreement today, Nigeria will be on the right path to promote women’s engagement in peace and security in Northern Nigeria.
“We believe that the programme will significantly assist Nigeria in achieving its developmental goals articulated in the Nigeria Vision 20:2020 and Transformation agenda of the Federal Government,’’ Yuguda said.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina, said women and children suffered in any crisis and thanked the EU for its intervention aimed at alleviating the sufferings of women in the states affected by crisis.
Maina urged the EU and other donor agencies to also design programmes and projects that could empower women economically.
She promised that the Federal Government would make judicious use of the grant to develop human capital and improve security in the country.
Arrion said the programme was in line with the EU Country Strategy Paper for Nigeria Comprehensive Approach to the EU implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) on peace, security and stability.
He said the programme was a strategic response to the opportunities presented by five UNSCR on women, peace and security.