ABUJA, ONSA – (National Counter Terrorism Centre Report) – In an effort to prevent and respond to violence against children by Terrorists and Violent Extremist (TVE) Groups, the Government of Nigeria in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has come up with a project tagged:’STRIVE Juvenile.’ The Project is a three-year initiative spanning from January 2021 – January 2024, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the UNODC in Nigeria.
The publicity issued by the Head of Strategic Communications in the Counter Terrorism Centre, Ozoya Imohimi on Tuesday 29th November 2022 recalled that in recent years, the International Community has been increasingly confronted with the recruitment and exploitation of children perpetrated by a variety of terrorist and violent extremist groups all over the world, making this a global issue. It explained that children associated with these groups can be groomed, indoctrinated, used as servants or exploited as sexual slaves and can also be involved in different activities for the pursuit of the groups’ criminal activities, including serving as spies and informants or being directly involved in the preparation and delivery of attacks.
Similarly, armed groups in parts of Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin have been recruiting and using children as combatants and non-combatants, raping and forcing girls to marry as well as committing other grave violations against children.
“It is on this premise that the Government of Nigeria in collaboration with relevant partners, particularly the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), in reaffirming its adherence to international and national laws has developed and adopted for use in Nigeria, “The Nigeria Call for Action.” The document is set to be launched on 1st December 2022 to further strengthen the capacity of various stakeholders in the country to prevent escalation of the menace,” the report indicated.
Accordingly, the Nigeria Call for Action is a political declaration that recognises the priority of protecting children from the threats associated with terrorism. It focuses on prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration as key priorities for security and child rights in any efforts to tackle the phenomenon.
The high-level event will serve the purpose of raising awareness on the situation of children recruited and exploited by terrorist groups in Nigeria; foster coordinated commitment to improving prevention and responses to child recruitment and exploitation through coordinated whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches. It will also serve as a benchmark for action at the national level.