from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THERE has been a decrease in grave violations against children by armed groups in northeast Nigeria.
However, youngsters continue suffering from the volatile security.
According to the United Nations special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, a total of 694 grave violations against 532 children have been verified during the reporting period from January 2020 to December 2021.
This represents a sharp decrease compared with the previous report during which 5 741 grave violations were verified for a three-year period.
The latest reporting period revealed that 212 children (136 boys, 73 girls, 3 sex unknown) had been killed or maimed.
The report also disclosed the abduction of 287 children (142 boys, 145 girls) and sexual violence against 64 girls.
Some 70 children (13 boys, 57 girls) were recruited and used in the battle front.
The Boko Haram-affiliated and splinter groups are blamed for the violations.
“The children of Nigeria and of the Lake Chad Basin region have to live under the constant fear and threat of grave violations against them, especially gruesome violations at the hands of Boko Haram-affiliated and splinter groups,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba.
The envoy said the children further risked being caught up in military operations against the group by government forces.
Gamba urged Boko Haram-affiliated and splinter groups, notably Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (JAS) and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), to release all children associated with them and abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
“I urge all parties to immediately end all violations against children,” Gamba said.
The Islamist Boko Haram began its campaign of terror to dislodge state governments in 2009.
– CAJ News