Brief on the Directorate of Studies


Professor Oluwafunmilayo Josephine
Para-Mallam, mni, FCPA, is the Director of Studies and the first female member of Management. She holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Leeds, UK (2006) and is a Professor of Gender and Development, as well as a Development Consultant and women’s rights activist. She has served the National Institute since March 1989. She obtained a BA (Hons) in French/Portuguese from University of Ife, in 1984, a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the University of Jos in 1995 and a Diploma in Peace and Security from the University of Uppsala, Sweden in 2009. Professor Para-Mallam has travelled widely and attended conferences and professional training courses in Australia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, France, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands, UK, and the USA, among others. She is an lumna of the Senior Executive Fellows Executive Education programme  (January 2020 cohort) of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

 In March 1989, she joined the National Institute, Kuru as an Editorial Assistant and rose to become Principal Editor before transferring to the Department of Research as a Fellow in 2001. She became a Senior Fellow in 2004 and in 2011 was the first female to be appointed Professor in the National Institute. In 2013, she became a Member of the National Institute after participating in the NIPSS Senior Executive Course 35. From 2016 to 2019, she served as a Directing Staff in the Directorate of Studies.

Prof Para-Mallam has served as a policy and leadership trainer, development consultant, resource person and principal investigator on a number of collaborative projects with State, national and
international Agencies. These include Action Aid, Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID), DFID, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), NDC, UNESCO, UN Women, UNDP, The World Bank, and Women for Women International. She has been a guest lecturer and external
examiner at the Institute for Security Studies, Abuja. Para-Mallam has also been involved in national/institutional assignments related to policy development such as the draft Strategic Implementation Framework for the 2007 National Gender Policy, member, 2007 Gender Electoral Reform Committee, and member technical experts committee on UNDP Women in Politics programme. She was
the lead consultant responsible for drafting the University of Jos Sexual Harassment Policy (2009), Women for Women International Advocacy training toolkit for grassroots women (2016), the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) Gender in Disaster Management Policy (2016), and the Gender and Health Policy (2018). In 2020, she chaired the Women and Governance Sub-Committee of the Technical Working Group that developed strategies on Women Affairs for the 2021-2025 Mid-Term National Development Plan.

Among her community service, literary, and academic awards and fellowships are the following: EPA Feature Article Award, Chicago, USA (2001); Ford Foundation International Doctoral Fellowship (2001);
Cadbury Programme Fellowship at the Centre for West African Studies, University of Birmingham, UK (2006); African Peacebuilding Network (APN) fellowship grant (2012); and the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program Archive Research Award from the Columbia University, New York (2016). She served as a Visiting Professor, member of the Senate and Lecturer at the University of Jos
(2015-2016) and was a Ford Foundation Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, New York (2016). In July 2020, she was elected Chairperson of the African Women’s Leadership Network (AWLN) Nigeria Chapter Steering Committee. She is the National Coordinator of Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society (CWEENS) a women’s network focused on women empowerment,
tackling gender-based violence, girl-child mentoring and female leadership development.

She has over 70 publications and conference papers to her credit; over 40 per cent of her publications are published in peer-reviewed international journals and books. Her publications include:
“Gender Dimensions of Peace and Security: Issues for Nigeria” (2004), “Faith and Gender Agendas in Nigeria: Conflicts, Challenges and Opportunities” (2006), Nigerian Women Speak: An Analysis of Government Policy on Women (2007), “Promoting Gender Equality in the Context of Nigerian Cultural and Religious Expression: Beyond Increasing Female Access to Education” (2010), “No Woman
Wrapper in a Husband’s House: The Cultural Production of Hegemonic Masculinity in Nigeria” (2011); Nigeria’s 50 Years of Nation Building: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects (ed. 2011); Finding Durable Peace in Plateau State (ed. 2011); “Ethno-Religious Pluralism and its Management in Liberia and Ghana:
Lessons for Nigeria (2012), “Gender Equality in Nigeria” (2017); Gender, Citizenship and Democratic Governance (2018) and Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Nigeria” (2022). Her research interests include gender and development policy, gender-based violence, gender, peace and security,
governance and leadership development and public policy. Recently concluded research projects are: Understanding Intersecting Vulnerabilities Experienced by Religious Minorities Living in Poverty in the Shadows of COVID-19 (2021) and Sexual and Ideological Grooming of Women and Girls in Nigeria: Untold Stories of Complicity and Coercion (forthcoming).

She is a member of professional bodies and organisational boards such as Member of the Nigerian Society of International Law, Federation of Business and Professional Women and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Local Government and Public Administration of Nigeria. She loves to read, write, dance and dabble into interior decorating. Prof Para-Mallam is happily married to Revd. (Dr) Gideon Para-Mallam; they have five children and two grandchildren.  She and her husband are the founders of the Gideon and Funmi Peace Foundation; they enjoy mentoring young people and are Patrons to the National Christian Corpers’ Fellowship (NCCF).

Course Programme Management

Admission into the SEC Programme is based on nomination by sponsoring organisations through the Office of the Vice-President and the approval of the President. The SEC programme lasts 10 months from February to November each year. The Course is organized along eight modules as follows: Understanding the Nigerian State; Research Methodology; Policy, Strategy and Leadership; Science, Technology and Innovation; Economic and Management Studies; International Relations Studies; Defence and Security Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies.

In addition to the above, compulsory courses in French Language and Computer Appreciation are part of the curriculum.

Participants are divided into study groups each headed by a Directing Staff. The Directing Staff are very senior and highly competent military and para-military officers as well as seasoned academics and technocrats. The very experience and expertise of both in-house experts as well as guest lecturers, drawn from all sectors of society, are tapped to stimulate the thinking of the Participants.  Seminars, discussions, group research work and tours feature prominently in the Course. The principle of non-attribution is operated during lectures to provide a free atmosphere for discussions. During each course, tours are undertaken, namely:

  • A local Tour, which involves visits by Participants to various states within Nigeria
  • A Tour selected African Countries
  • An Intercontinental Tour of countries outside Africa
  • A Tour of Strategic Institutions..

Selection of Participants

The Participants of the SEC programme consist of high level Nigerians drawn from both the public and private sectors of the economy. These include the military and security forces, the civil service at both the federal and state levels, the academia, professional organisations, labour unions, women societies, and other members of the organised private sector. The admission is strictly through nomination by sponsoring organisations and approval by the Office of the President.  

Defence and National Security Week

A week is set aside during the Course for Sector Specific Measures where heads of respective security agencies are invited to deliver lectures on the role of their organisations on national development as it relates to the theme of the Course. This gives Participants the opportunity to interact with the heads of these agencies which include: Hon. Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of the Air Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Inspector-General of Police, Director-General, Defence Intelligence Agency, Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Director General, State Security Services, DG National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller General, Nigeria Prisons Service, Comptroller General, Federal Fire Service, Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission, Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Strategy and Crisis Game

As part of the SEC Programme, a Strategy and Crisis Game is organized to impart into the Participants skills in crisis and conflict management. At the end of the Crisis Game, a Policy Paper based on the outcome of the Game is usually produced and sent to the Federal Government as the Institute’s input to policy direction in the relevant area(s).

Concluding Seminar/Presentation Parley

At the inception of the Course, each Study Group is assigned one of the sub-themes to conduct an independent research to be presented at the Plenary towards the end of the Course which is referred to as Concluding Seminar. Eminent Scholars are invited to lead discussions on the papers presented by the Participants, with a view to adding value to the papers. The outcome of the Concluding Seminars usually constitutes the highlight of the Report that is presented to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at a Presidential Parley which is normally held annually at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Project Defence

Every year, Participants are made to defend their individual research projects by Panels composed of combined external and internal examiners. Success at the defence, in addition to meeting other set criteria, determine the successful completion or otherwise of the Course programme.