Borno State Government has called on the United Nation Security Council to delist Nigeria from the list of countries using child soldiers in armed conflict.
Deputy Solicitor General of Borno State Ministry of Justice, Barrister Abdullahi Hussaini Izge who is also the Project Coordinator, Civilian JTF MoU Action Plan in Borno State said with screening and release of over 1,700 children under the ages of 18, Nigeria should not be regarded as a country using underage children in armed conflict.
Justifying his position, Barr. Izge explained that the first list of October 12, 2018, had a total of 833 children separated from the ranks of the Civilian JTF with support from Search for Common Ground (SFCG), an International NGO, while on Friday 10th May 2019, another group of 894 children within the ranks of Civilian JTF from within Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC) and Jere LGA were separated and released while the exercise continued in other 9 Local Government Areas”.
According to him, the exercise is still also ongoing in other 13 LGAs of the state while demanding for an extension of the dateline for the completion of the exercise.
Izge appreciated and commended the support and efforts of the UN and other development partners as well as the international NGOs for providing both human and material resources towards achieving the successes recorded in the implementation of the Action Plan.
He further commended the efforts and support of the Borno State government for providing an enabling environment to the UN agencies and other development partners to implementing the Action Plan and her continuous support to the CJTF in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency. The Project Coordinator did not fail to praise the efforts, commitments and sacrifices of the CJTF in assisting the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies in the fight against the insurgents.
He commended the sincerity of the leader of CJT in cooperating and participating fully in the screening and documentation exercise of the under aged children across the state.
The Country Representative UNICEF Nigeria Mohammed Fall promised that UNICEF will continue to support and collaborate with other development partners and UN agencies for the protection of children. He equally commended the CJTF and Borno government for their support and cooperation in the implementation of the Action Plan Mr. Fall disclosed that UNICEF remained committed to collaborating with other authorities to provide education to the children as children belong to the schools not the streets or homes.
UN Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. George Steiner in his remarks said UN is delighted with the formal release of the children, adding that it’s a good evidence of hope and legality for the children future in the country. He congratulated the children and the CJTF and all other partners and agencies involved in the exercise.
He said the UN remained committed to supporting conflicts population in the Lake Chad Region.In his remarks, the Shehu of Borno, HRH, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai Ibn El Kanemi who was represented by the Waziri of Borno, Alhaji Yerima Mustapha Mukhtar condemned as an immoral act for under aged children to be involved in the fight against any conflict.
He however urged the CJTF to sustain their support to the security agencies in the fight against insurgency in the state just as he appealed to the public to continue to render useful information to security agencies to enable them succeed in the fight.