Ahead of the five years anniversary since the abduction of some school girls from Chibok community in North East Nigeria, the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has lamented the continued violation of children’s rights in the region.
UNICEF said between 2013 and 2018, that over 3,500 children of ages 13 and 17 have been recruited by non-state armed groups.
According to a statement by Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria on Friday, these figures represent an estimated number and not a true representation of the evil actually perpetrated against children in the region.
It added that 432 children were killed and maimed, 180 were abducted, and 43 girls were sexually abused in 2018 alone while over 100 of the abducted girls were still missing.
It stated “Children should feel safe at home, in schools and on their playgrounds at all times.”
“We are calling on the parties to the conflict to fulfil their obligations under international law to end violations against children and to stop targeting civilian infrastructure, including schools. This is the only way we can begin to make lasting improvements in the lives of children in this devastated part of Nigeria.”
It also lamented, that girls recruited have been used as combatants and non-combatants, raped and forced into marriage.
The agency also said it had provided community-based reintegration services to more than 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities.