FG must stop N’East children armed as JTF, says expert

The Federal Government has been urged to stop the usage of school-age children who are armed and brought into the Civilian Joint Task Force to fight terrorism in the Northeastern region of the country.

An expert in law and Director of Media Law Centre, Richard Akinnola, stated this in Abuja at a training on human rights accountability, noting that the use school-age children for armed conflicts violated the international laws on child protection.




Akinnola, at the training organised by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting and the Institute for War and Peace, spoke on “Understanding international laws protecting children and the use of child soldiers.”

Akinnola said, “It is clearly illegal to have children under 15 years old in armed conflicts. It is wrong to use children. They are illegal combatants, whether for the civilian joint task force or the terrorists.

“The Federal Government should have a media awareness to dissuade parents and people who surrender their school-age children in armed conflicts.

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“You can have children supplying intelligence to security agencies, but they must not be armed.

“The adoption of the Conventions on the rights of the children by the United Nations in 1989 formed the fulcrum of the international framework against armed conflicts. It was used in Sierra Leone, Syria and other countries.”

The expert also condemned prevalent abuses against children in the country such as child labour, child trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, noting that Nigeria subscribed to several international charters and conventions which also prohibited such practices.

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