UNICEF calls for end to child soldiers’ recruitment

From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for an end to the recruitment and use of children by armed groups as fighters in Nigeria.

Unicef in a statement released in Maiduguri, Borno State on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, known as Red Hand Day, also pressed for the release. ToUse of Child Soldiers, was originally by last weekend but Unicef marked the event on Monday

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“We call for an immediate end to the recruitment and use of innocent children as soldiers or for any other conflict-related role,’’ UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Phuong T. Nguyen, said

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Nguyen described recruitment and use children as unacceptable and unconscionable. She said girls and boys continue to serve on the frontlines of a conflict they did not start.”

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The fund called on the Nigerian authorities to sign the Handover Protocol for children encountered in the course of armed conflict in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin Region.

It said such move will end the detention of children formerly associated with armed groups.

The Borno State Child Protection Act, recently signed into law by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, prohibits and prescribes stiff penalties for the violation of children’s rights, Unicef said.

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