By Eulalia Amabo
A Nigerian military detachment comprising over 10 women will participate in the May 20 march-past following an invitation of the Head of State, Paul Biya.
A detachment of the Nigerian Army will take part in the march-past to commemorate the 46th edition of Cameroon’s National Day. Christened the 7th Guards Battalion and led by Mukhtar Sani Daroda as Commander, eight female officers will march in the different blocks and two will partake in playing the ban at the animation team.
Other female officers are equally included in the official travelling team of the Commander. It is the third time the Nigerian Army is being invited to participate in the May 20 march-past and female officers are always markedly considered in the composition of the detachment.
Talking to GDSM Olumba Chigozie, a female military officer who will for the first time take part in the match past, she said gender is not a hindrance to contributing to national and regional peace.
“We undergo same educational and professional programmes like men. The underlying principle is protecting people from terrorism, crimes and other unlawful actions,” she stated.
She further said admission into military academies in Nigeria is not based on gender, rather on commitment, determination and tact. “Once it concerns security, gender is not an impeding factor. We all need to unite to protect our sub-region by proving strength to counter insurgency. Nigeria and Cameroon are members of the Multinational Joint Task Force which fights insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin.
They are equally good partners in military cooperation especially in tackling Boko Haram at the borders of both countries. I cannot pretend to be insensitive to such threats simply because I am a woman.
You can clearly see for yourself I have been selected to participate in the military march-past in Cameroon and we (female officers) will take in the ban, logistics and every other activity which the men will undertake,” she explained.
Making reference to a defence decision of henceforth dispatching female military officers to the war front, she stated that she is professionally ready and adequately equipped for such a task.
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukar Yusufu Buratai is quoted to have said the move was in recognition of the competence and capacity of female soldiers and also in line with global best practices.
“The corps will give the Nigerian Army an opportunity to recognise women in order to derive the maximum benefit from their contribution to the defence and security of our nation,” he had stated.
Meanwhile, an operation dubbed “Operation Last Hold” has been launched by the Nigerian military as part of efforts to ensure security around the Lake Chad Basin. It is intended to facilitate the clearance of the Lake Chad waterways of sea weeds and other obstacles obstructing the movement of boats and people across the water channels while contributing to improving fishing and economic activities in the locality.