Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Chibok abduction, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF has called on parties to the conflict to fulfill their obligations under international law to end violations against children.
UNICEF observed that this was the only way the country could begin to make lasting improvements in the lives of children in devastated part of Nigeria.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja,by UNICEF Communication Specialist, Eva Hinds observed that more than 3,500 children have been recruited and used by non-state armed groups in north-east Nigeria since 2013.
“Children should feel safe at home, in schools and on their playgrounds at all times,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.”
According to the statement over 3,500 children, most of whom were aged 13 to 17, were recruited by non-state armed groups between 2013 and 2017 and have been used in the ongoing armed conflict in north-east Nigeria.
The statement says in addition to these children, 432 children were killed and maimed, 180 were abducted, and 43 girls were sexually abused in north-east Nigeria in 2018.
The UN children’s agency said that these numbers are only those that have been verified, while the true figures are likely to be higher.
The statement promised UNICEF’s continued support to the federal government in its efforts to protect the country’s children.
“We are calling on the parties to the conflict to fulfil their obligations under international law to end violations against children and to stop targeting civilian infrastructure, including schools. This is the only way we can begin to make lasting improvements in the lives of children in this devastated part of Nigeria.”
In 2017 and 2018, UNICEF and its partners provided community-based reintegration services to more than 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities.