US may sanction Nigeria over use of child soldiers

US may sanction Nigeria over use of child soldiers

- Nigeria has be listed among countries that recruits child solders in the world

- The countries also said to have violated the act, according to the report include, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen

- The law criminalizes the involvement of children, under 18, in any form of employment in hostile military settings

The United States 2017 Trafficking in Persons report has stated that Nigeria is among countries that might be sanctioned for going against Child Soldier Prohibition Act, CSPA 2008.

The report stated on Tuesday, June 27, that those countries that have broken the act will face the consequence of CSPA provisions.

Premium Times reports that the CSPA, as amended, prohibits assistance to governments that are identified in the list under the following authorities: international Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, Excess Defence Articles, and Peacekeeping Operations, with exceptions for some programs undertaken pursuant to the Peacekeeping Operations authority.

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Premium Times reports that the CSPA also prohibits the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of military equipment to such governments.

The report said: “Beginning October 1, 2017, and effective throughout Fiscal Year 2018, these restrictions will apply to the listed countries, absent a presidential national interest waiver, applicable exception, or reinstatement of assistance pursuant to the terms of the CSPA.’’

“For the purpose of the CSPA, and generally consistent with the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the term “child soldier” means: (i) any person under 18 years of age who takes a direct part in hostilities as a member of governmental armed forces; (ii) any person under 18 years of age who has been compulsorily recruited into governmental armed forces; (iii) any person under 15 years of age who has been voluntarily recruited into governmental armed forces; or (iv) any person under 18 years of age who has been recruited or used in hostilities by armed forces distinct from the armed forces of a state.''

The term “child soldier” includes any person described in clauses (ii), (iii), or (iv) who is serving in any capacity, including in a support role, such as a “cook, porter, messenger, medic, guard.''

Although the U.S. government can waive the rule to exclude certain restrictions, Nigeria has in various years, since 2008 remained on the list of defaulting countries of the CSPA.

“The Nigerian military also conducted on the ground coordination with the Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF), non-governmental self-defense militias that continued to recruit and use children possibly unwillingly and mostly in support roles and at least one of which received state government funding. Government officials including military, police, and federal and state officials—were involved in widespread sexual exploitation of Borno State women and girls displaced by Boko Haram, at times forcing women and girls in IDP camps.

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“Furthermore, despite identifying a large number of labor trafficking victims, the government only convicted two labor traffickers and it decreased funding for the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP), including its budget for victim services. Therefore, Nigeria was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List,” the report stated.

NAIJ.com gathered that the CSPA is a U.S. law, signed on October 3, 2008, under President George Bush. The law criminalises the involvement of children, under 18, in any form of employment in hostile military settings.

Countries also listed to have violated the act, according to the report include: Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

According to the report, the countries were picked based on details obtained within the period of compilation; between April1, 2016 and March 30, 2017.

Meanwhile, NAIJ.com earlier reported that the Donald Trump administration was expected to reveal to lawmakers its five-year plan to address the Boko Haram rebellion in North-east Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.

This was pursuant to a law signed by former U.S. President Barack Obama last December. The law arose from a bill proposed by Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson.

Watch this NAIJ.com TV Video of a man who said that he joined Biafran army at the age of 21:

Source: Naij.com

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