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Nigeria, UNICEF sign agreement on protection of children in conflict areas

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday signed an agreement with the Federal Government on the protection of children during conflict in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin Region.

The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, who confirmed the development in a statement on Friday, said the protocol was aimed at protecting or working against detaining children reportedly associated with armed groups.

She said the agreement would also help to integrate the children back into society.

The statement read: “The government of Nigeria, the United Nations system in Nigeria and UNICEF today sign an agreement on the handover protocol for children encountered in the course of armed conflict in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin Region.

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“The handover protocol is a practical tool to prevent or reduce the detention of children encountered by military and security forces during armed conflict and presents an opportunity to identify and transfer children allegedly associated with armed groups within a period of seven days to the ministry of women affairs and social development.

“The government of Nigeria and UNICEF will continue to work together to ensure that children allegedly associated with armed groups receive appropriate, tailored social and economic reintegration assistance that supports the children’s, families’, and communities’ resilience and social cohesion through child protection, education, psychosocial support, and livelihood initiatives, vocational and skills development and life skills.

“Under this agreement, the government of Nigeria, the United Nations system in Nigeria, and UNICEF will appoint focal points to oversee the implementation of the protocol and develop a detailed operation plan to guide the implementation of the protocol, outlining roles to ensure its operationalization and share regular compliance reports on the implementation of the protocol with relevant authorities.”

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