From Timothy Olanrewaju Maiduguri
A total of 2,013 children in the three northeast states affected by over a decade violence, have been cleared of alleged link with armed group since 2016.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Chief of Borno Field Office, Phuong Nguyen disclosed this in Maiduguri on Wednesday during a consultative meeting with chairmen of local governments in Borno State.
Nguyen said another 2,188 have also been released from conscription by the security volunteers, Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), an intervention funded and supported by the European Union (EU).
She decried the impact of the violence on children in the northeast. She urged stakeholders including religious, traditional and political leaders to support the reintegration of the freed children back to the society.
“Community and religious leaders must publicly condemn and continue to advocate ending and preventing violations and abuse against children, in particular, those involving the recruitment of children into armed groups, rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, abductions, attacks and threats of attacks against schools and hospitals,” she said.
Also commenting at the event, Project Manager, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Hussein Alio appealed to the local government chairmen to support the nine social cohesion platforms in their respective communities.
“We are seeking your support for timely notification of the d,ate and time of telling beneficiaries back to their various local government areas,” Alio said.
Nearly one million children are among the three people displaced by the violence in the northeast according to a 2019 report by the National Emergency Managenent Agency (NEMA).