… Condemns armed recruitment of children
By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
Nine years after abduction of 276 School girls from Chibok, the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF has condemned the suffering children in North East Nigeria suffer from the consequences of conflict.
In a release issued by the UNICEF Office in Abuja, after the devastating
reality suffered by 276 school girls who were abducted in the middle of the night from their dormitory in Chibok, Nigeria, 96 girls remain in captivity, and thousands more children have been subjected to grave violations of their rights.
UNICEF also noted that there is r an urgent need to reinforce action to protect children in Nigeria especially now after the recent episode of attack after a local media report that on 7 April 2023, when 80 children were reportedly abducted by militants in Zamfara State’s Tsafe Local Government.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate said, “The statistics are disturbing; the reality is devastating. It has been 9 years since the horrendous abduction of the Chibok girls, yet the nightmare continues as children are still being kidnapped, forcibly recruited, killed and injured– their futures torn away.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of Nigeria’s children. We must do everything in our power to ensure they grow up in safety, with access to education and the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”
Since 2014, there have been over 2,400 incidents of grave violations verified, affecting over 6,800 children in the north-east.
Furthermore, the organization also condemned the most common violations of recruitment or use of children by armed groups with 700 verified cases, followed by abductions of children, with 693 incidents, and killing and maiming, with 675 incidents.
The impact of the conflict on education is alarming, with repercussions that will likely affect generations. The Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TCN) reports that, between 2009 and 2022, around 2,295 teachers were reportedly killed in attacks, over 19,000 teachers were displaced, more than 1,500 schools closed because of insecurity, and 910 schools were destroyed, the organization revealed.
Meanwhile, UNICEF commended the Nigerian Government for signing the the UNICEF-supported handover protocol and its commitment to invest N144.8 billion ($314.5 Million) towards the Safe Schools Financing Plan in 2022.
The children organization said it stands and is ready to support the Government in its implementation to ensure that all children encountered in the course of armed conflict in Nigeria or released from armed groups are quickly reunited with their families and benefit from reintegration programmes.
UNICEF Nigeria called on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and human rights law and protect the rights and well-being of children.
UNICEF Nigeria emphasized it’s committed to working with the government and partners to ensure that every child in Nigeria can enjoy their rights and live in a peaceful and prosperous society.