Conflict resolution and peace building: the gender question in the Niger delta crisis in Nigeria
The paper examines the strategic approaches adopted by women and the socio-cultural obstacles that impede women active participation in conflict resolution and peace building process in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Conflict has become a recognizable feature in the oil rich region. The activities of the multinational oil companies have ushered in various manifestations of conflict, resulting from intra/ intercommunity feud, communities agitation for resource control, fulfillment of social exchange obligations and widespread protests over the monumental degradation of the Niger Delta environment by the activities of the multinational oil companies and the repressive measures adopted by the Nigerian state in suppressing the inhabitants from expressing their displeasure. The various forms of conflict have a far-reaching but negative effect on the womenfolk and as such should be made to participate in conflict resolution and peace building process. On the contrary, they are made to believe that their rightful gender role is in the home front as housewives, mothers, and caregivers while the men carry on with important societal roles of conflict resolution and peace building. The paper argues that women by their nature are home managers, calm and lover of peace. Thus, adopt non confrontational or violent free strategies when tackling issues of conflict and peace building. The paper suggests that gender discriminatory policies and legislations in our society should be jettisoned so as to give women the chance to actively participate in conflict resolution and peace building process in the Niger Delta.
Keywords: Nigeria, Women, Conflict, Peace