In compliance with Human Right and International Laws, the Nigerian Army has handed over 184 children and women associated with armed group in the course of its war against insurgency in the Northwest to the Borno state government and United Nations for onward, rehabilitation and integration back to the society.
While handing over the children to the Borno state Government and UNICEF on Monday, the Chief of Army Staff, t. General Tukur Buratai said in compliance with domestic and international laws, the Army is handing over these children for rehabilitation.
The COAS who was represented by the theater commander, Major General Nicolas Rogers said “the children who were arrested in different locations with theater, some are involved in suicide bombing, some are information and so.e evening ivolve in combat carrying arms”.
He said the children are mostly below the age of 12 and were arrested in different locations within the theaters.” considering their ages and the international laws and UN standard and best practices, we are not going to take harsh measures on then, them Hence the handing them to Borno state government who will in turn hand them over to the NICEF for rehabilitation, and reintegration back to society”, the theater commander added.
Speaking at the occasion, Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima thanked the Army for releasing the children, saying that “this not the first time the Army is releasing children to the state ,government, you released over 4 ,00.0 children to Borno state government “.
The Governor who was represented by the Borno state commissions for women Affairs, Hon. fanta Babashehu, said “thank the Army for their efforts in liberating the state and the Northwest from Boko Haram. In the last four years some hardly move free in Maiduguri but thank God today with efforts of our gallantry military, you now move up to our borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic”.
While assuming the children that government is going take good care ifthem, rehabilitated them, he urged them to be a law abiding citizens both within the rehabilitation centre and when finally integrated back to their communities.
Also speaking, the representative if the United Nations, Mr. Ibrahim Sesay assured the the UNICEF is going to partner with the Borno state ministry for women affairs and social development better the lives of the children.
“Th children are going undergoes medical screening to ensure their healthy, psychosocial therapy and skills acquisition while in the centre to rehabilitate them not only to change their mind set but also to make them become good members of their society,” he added.He said the post insurgency rehabilitation programs of the UN will take two three years , adding that it would be a wholistic approach where all UN system and partners will be inlvevod.
He further stated that first we taje them to rehabilitation centre, making we provide with necessary support we should look at their health status, Psychological welk being and those that need special care, we going to work without partners within the UN system, international NGos, and even the state psychiatric hospital.