The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that more than 8,000 girls and boys have been recruited and used as child soldiers in different roles by Boko Haram terrorists, other armed groups across Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘UNICEF calls for end to recruitment and use of child soldiers,’ by UNICEF to commemorate the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, known better as “Red Hand Day” on Monday.
The UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Phuong T. Nguyen, said, “For 13 years, armed conflict in North-East Nigeria has claimed thousands of lives, disrupted livelihoods and access to essential services for children and their families.
“Nearly one million homes and 5,000 classrooms have been razed in the protracted armed conflict.
“We call for an immediate end to the recruitment and use of innocent children as soldiers or for any other conflict-related role.
“It is unacceptable and unconscionable that girls and boys continue to serve on the frontlines of a conflict they did not start.”
Nguyen who called for an end to the recruitment and use of children by armed groups in Nigeria and the release of those in the custody of such groups said, “We must do more to ensure that Nigeria’s children do not suffer the worst impacts of conflict.
“We owe girls and boys a chance to leave the horrors of conflict behind. Every day of delay in the custody of armed groups is a tragedy with grave implications for the children, families, and Nigerian society as a whole.”