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CJTF Releases 900 Separated Children Under The Aged of 18 to UNICEF.... As SFCG Enrolls, Trains 400 Children

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) Borno state in collaboration with the Borno State Ministry of Justice and CJTFMOU Action Plan Implementation Committee have released 900 childen screened and documented as under the age of 18 years found within the ranks of the CJTF which report has been submitted to UNICEF Child Protection Unit Maiduguri Office .

Acting on the list submitted on Friday in Maiduguri at the Shehu of Borno State palace, the Child Protection Unit of UNICEF had in collaboration with other UN agencies and other development pætners screened further and documented the list of children this year.

The CJTFMOU Action Plan Project Coordinator, Barrister Abdullahi Hussaini Izge who is also the Deputy Solicitor General of the state, Borno State Ministry of Justice said earlier that the first list on 12th October 2018, had a total of 833 chilÉ—ren separated from the ranks of the CJTF with support from Search For Common Ground (SFCG), an international NGO.

He added that today Friday 10th May 2019, another group of 894 children within the ranks of CJTF from 3 Sectors of the CJTF within Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC) and Jere LGA were separated and released while the exercise continues in other 9 Local Government Areas immediately after the ceremony.

According to him, the exercise is still ongoing in other 13 LGAs of the state while demanding for an extension of the dateline for the completion of the exercise.

Izge appreciated and commended the support and efforts of the UN and other development partners as well as the international NGOs for providing both human and material resources towards achieving the successes recorded in the implementation of the Action Plan.

He further commended the efforts and support of the Borno State Government forr providing an enabling environment to the UN agencies and other development partners to implement the Action Plan and his continuous support to the CJTF in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents

The Project Coordinator also commended the efforts, commitments and sacrifices of the CJTF in assisting the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security operatives in the fight against the insurgents and also for cooperating and participating fully in the screening and documentation exercise of the under age children across the state.

Abdullahi however called on UN Security Council to set in motion the process of delisting Nigeria from among countries that use children in an armed conflict.

The UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Mohammed Fall said UNICEF will continue to support and collaborate with other development partners and UN agencies to protect children while commending the CJTF and BOSG for their support and cooperation in the implementation of the Action Plan .

He said UNICEF remained committed to collaborate with other authorities to provide education to the children as children belong to the schools not the streets or homes.

UN Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. George Steiner in his remarks said UN welcome the formal release of the children and this is an evidenced of hope and legality for the children's future while congratulating the children and commending the CJTF and all other partners and agencies involved in the exercise.

He also said UN remained committed to support conflicts populace in the Lake Chad Region.

The Shehu of Borno, HRH, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai Ibn El Kanemi represented by the Waziri of Borno, Alhaji Yerima Mustapha Mukhtar said it is an immoral act for under aged children to be involved in any conflict.

He however urged the CJTF to continue to support the security agencies in the fight against insurgency in the state while appealing to the public to continue to render useful information to security agencies nearest to them about any suspicious element in their midst.

The royal father also commended the UNICEF for supporting and promoting children immunisation, education and other healthcare services while assuring his continuous support and prayers.