FG Threatens Boko Haram Over Children Suicide Bombers
The Federal Government has vowed to deal with members of the Boko Haram over the continued deployment of children, especially young girls, as suicide bombers in the on-going insurgency in the country.
The Minister for Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, issued this warning in Abuja, the nation's capital.
The minister expressed worry at reports indicating that young children were being used as suicide bombers in violation of the innocence of the children.
“My attention has been drawn to the increasing reports at the callous and regrettable abuse of children and young persons as hostile actors by the Boko Haram sect in its prosecution of its on-going evil, mindless and murderous terrorist campaign against the Federal Government of Nigeria, particularly in the North-Eastern States of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and parts of Gombe, respectively,” the minister said.
While condemning the development, Adoke said the use of girls as suicide bombers is a clear breach of international and domestic laws that guaranteed the rights and children during periods of hostilities and armed conflicts.
“I therefore consider it my duty to issue this advisory primarily to put all terrorist elements on notice that the current hostilities in the North east region will not compromise the resolve of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to enforce all domestic laws and international conventions to which we are party.
“I also wish to reiterate the fact that no matter how long it takes, all violators of the said laws and conventions will ultimately be brought to justice,” Adoke said.
According to the minister, as a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal court, Nigeria was under obligation to abide by and enforce, the provisions of Article 8(2)(b) which made it a war crime to conscript children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities.
He therefore called on the military high command to ensure that “its responsibility to avoid the use or abuse of children and young persons in the current campaign is imbibed by its commanders and personnel at all levels of engagement.”
He also assured the international community of the determination of the Federal Government to continue to uphold its international obligations.
According to him, “Our resolve to prosecute terrorist elements and any other person who undertakes the active use of children in hostilities or armed conflicts, or engage in other unlawful acts contrary to our domestic laws and internationals obligations on protection of children and young persons remains unshakeable and irreversible,” adding “No matters how long it takes, justice will certainly be done in due course.”