Akpan Umoh, Uyo
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Akwa Ibom State Command, has sensitised officers and men on the need to eradicate every form of sexual exploitation, and abuse of female migrants around the border communities in the state.
The State Comptroller, Nigeria Immigration Service, Francisca Dakat, gave the charge while declaring open a two-day sensitisation workshop for officers and men of the command at Four Points by Sheraton in Ikot Ekpene.
Dakat told personnel that the workshop was to create awareness and equip them with the mainstreaming project of the Modernising Nigeria Immigration Service (MoNIS).
She said that gender mainstreaming aimed at making deliberate policy to integrate men’s and women’s interests into all stages of planning, implementation and evaluation programmes.
She added that the gender mainstreaming project would ensure gender equality and equity in the workplace, and equal opportunity for male and female personnel to enjoy gender inclusivity in recruitment, deployment and training.
“This sensitisation workshop is intended to equip you with the knowledge on NIS Gender Policies, framework on Gender Issues, how to deal with Gender Based Violence (GBV), Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA).
“So, I enjoin you to take full advantage of this privilege and make the best out of this opportunity that has been graciously presented by the Service in partnership with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development,” Dakat said.
The state comptroller said that the Nigeria immigration service has put so much into human resource development, especially in areas like Migration Management and Border Management.
She commended the Acting Comptroller General of the Immigration Service, Ag. CGIS Caroline Adepoju and the implementation partner, International Centre for Migration Policy and Development (ICMPD) for extending the sensitisation workshop to the command.
Earlier in her welcome address, Deputy Comptroller Immigration, Adekemi Ojo, NIS – ICMPD, Focal Person, said that gender mainstreaming was an essential aspect of development that recognises the different needs of men and women in the society.
Ojo said the project would involve ensuring that issues related to gender are integrated into all policies, programmes and activities to ensure men and women have equal access to resources and opportunities.
She reminded participants that the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse are serious issues that affect both men and women, boys and girls and are prevalent all over the world.
She said the sensitisation workshop was aimed at addressing these issues and striving towards reducing the ills or completely eradicating them where possible.
“As officers and men of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), we shall also remind ourselves of our code of conduct and ethics as it relates to sexual exploitation and abuse.
“As major players in the field, it is important that we are knowledgeable in all of these areas to ensure we do not fall victim and we operate within the rules of engagement of the Service.
“We hope that at the end of the sensitisation workshop, we would all have gained insights and knowledge that will enable us to take proactive action in implementing gender mainstreaming practices in different formations and spheres of influence,” Ojo said.
Ojo urged the participants to pay attention to the resource persons so that they would become more aware of the negative impacts of sexual exploitation and abuse and be better equipped to tackle them in their various communities and workplace.
The resource person, Dr Eddy Akpomera speaking on the topic: “Imperativeness of Gender mainstreaming and key pointers in NIS Gender policy” described gender mainstreaming as all about equity and fairness saying there must be fairness before equality could be attained.