- An agreement has been reached by the UN and Civilian Joint Task Force to end the use of children soldiers
- Some of the soldiers are said to be as young as nine
- The UN said the deal will be a source of hope for children affected by the Boko Haram insurgency
The UN has reached an agreement with the Civilian Joint Task Force to end the use of children in the conflict against Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria.
The UN said between October 2015 and August 2017, more than 360 children were used by the Civilian Joint Task Force.
Some of the soldiers are said to be as young as nine. The agreement which was led by the UN was reached after a year of negotiations.
The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) is a vigilante force which protects communities in areas poorly guarded by the military.
Mohamed Fall, a Unicef representative in Nigeria, said: “We have seen too many childhoods destroyed by the crisis in the north-east. Today’s agreement is an important milestone for child protection and paves the way for a brighter future for children caught up in the conflict.”
Jibrin Gunda, the legal adviser for the CJTF, said the agreement was a vital step: “We’ve already started to carry out the action plan we signed with the UN,” he said. “Anyone under the age of 18 will no longer be a part of the CJTF. We are doing our best to make sure we are on the right side of human rights codes.”
According to the special representative of the secretary-general for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba, the deal was a source of hope for children affected by the fighting, The Guardian reports.
“Now that the action plan has been signed, I urge the CJTF to fully implement it in order to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children once and for all.”
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NAIJ.com had reported that the humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, on Tuesday, September 19, condemned the deadly attacks targeting innocent civilians in Konduga, Banki and Ngala areas of Borno.
Kallon expressed this view in a statement by Biodun Banire, public information officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Watch this NAIJ.com video as Nigerian Air Force strengthens its operations against Boko Haram: