NFirst Lady Aisha Buhari has called on the military to deploy more women soldiers for internal security operations.
Mrs Buhari said this on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the Defence Headquarters maiden annual conference on women peace and security.
The one-day conference themed “The imperative of gender mainstreaming in the Armed Forces for operational effectiveness” was held at the National Defence College, Abuja.
The first lady said that Nigeria was facing security crisis partly because the armed forces had not redefined the role of women and explore their potential for operational effectiveness.
“The security issues bedevilling our country still abound probably because we are yet to redefine the Armed Forces of Nigeria to explore the potential of women for operational effectiveness. Women possess the traits of patience, perseverance, and passion,” she said.
“There is a need for the reformulation of laws and policies that border on the inclusion of women in the strategic reformation of effective operational deployment. The wide margin and lack of flexibility in structures based on gender should be abridged.
“Women are restricted to careers within supportive mustering of military community such as finance, human resources, personnel, logistics, medical services and welfare. I join the military women to take exception to such psychological oppression.”
Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, however, spoke on the military’s efforts in including women in operations.
“Currently, the Armed Forces of Nigeria has attained 27.7 per cent female participation in peacekeeping operations. This is higher than the UN recommendation of 17 per cent,” he said.
“These women are given equal opportunities like their male counterparts, including commanding major combat units and flying fighter jets for the air force.
“The Nigerian Navy has also deployed women as sailors and for other key aspects such as ship maintenance.”