20,000 gross violation cases against children recorded in Nigeria – UNICEF

By Isa Amodu, Abuja

Despite proactive campaigns to stop all forms of violations against children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in its latest report disclosed that children in Nigeria suffered more than 20,000 gross violations.

The report released on Monday says that children in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria as those that experienced gross violations with many of them killed, maimed abducted or sexually violated.

Since the start of the decade, the United Nations has verified more than 170,000 grave violations against children in conflict – the equivalent of more than 45 violations every day for the last 10 years.

In Nigeria’s North-East, the figure is almost 20,000 in the last seven years.

It added that more than 12,000 children were killed or maimed globally in 2018 – almost 800 of them in Nigeria’s North-East.

“Ten years of conflict in Nigeria’s North-East – closely coinciding with the decade about to end – has seen a massive level of violations against Nigeria’s children in the region.

These include killings, maiming, abductions, rape, severe psychological trauma, and extreme disruption of their education – leaving them vulnerable possibly for the rest of their lives,” said Pernille Ironside, UNICEF Nigeria’s Acting Representative.

“Children should never be a target in any armed conflict – and everything must be done to protect them when they find themselves in areas of conflict.

“Sadly, this has too often not been the case during the conflict in North-East Nigeria with children paying the heaviest price for the ongoing crisis,” Ironside added.

Also speaking on the disturbing situation, UNICEF’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said, “Conflicts around the world are lasting longer, causing more bloodshed and claiming more young lives.

“Attacks on children continue unabated as warring parties flout one of the most basic rules of war: the protection of children.

“For every act of violence against children that creates headlines and cries of outrage, there are many more that go unreported.”

UNICEF however appealed to warring parties including in Nigeria to abide by their obligations under international law and to immediately end violations against children and the targeting of civilian infrastructure.