Borno Government, UNICEF separate 464 underaged children from ranks of Civilian JTF involved in fight against insurgency
By Dauda R. Pam, Maiduguri
The Search for Common Ground under the auspices of the United Nations Children Education Fund,(UNICEF) in collaboration with the Borno State Government has separated 464 under-aged children from the ranks of the Civilian Joint Tasks Force (CJTF) involved in the fight against insurgency in Borno State.
In his remarks at a brief ceremony to formally separate the children, the state Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, reiterated his administration’s commitment to fully restore  peace in the state as conspicuously contained in his ten-point agenda.
Represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo said “Since I came on board , I have been working hard in our efforts to reconstruct,rehabilitate and resettle our displaced persons”.
“Nigeria has been named as one of the country using children in Armed conflict but I hope and believe with today’s formal Separation, we will be delisted by the UN from countries using children in armed conflict”, Prof. Zulum added.
Also, the UNICEF Field Officer Borno state, Mr. Geoffrey Ijumba said ” in May 10th, 2019 when 894 children were separated from the ranks of CJTF. It was a happy moment.
And so it is today when we are formally witnessing the separation of 464 children from CJTF as part of the action plan signed in September 2017 to end the recruitment and use of children.
According to him,thousands of children in the Northeast,are bearing the brunt of conflict, killed maimed, orpharned or forced to flee their homes with many more being sexually assaulted and exposed to unspeakable violence”, he added.
And that “children have been taken from classroom to battle field,their childhood interrupted at gunpoint,though children are not responsible for the conflict,they are by far the most affected.
It is our duty and moral obligations to protect them and enable them fully access their rights.
Children belong to the school and not at front line.”
He hinted that a total of 3, 737 children associated with the Civilian Joint Task Force have been identified within the City of Maiduguri and 20 other local government areas.
They have all been assessed on the level of association with CJTF with a total of 1,727 children  so far been released and have accessed reintegration services aimed at giving them not only skills to cope with life but also hope for a better tomorrow,” Ijumba added.
Earlier in his address, the Borno state commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawan, represented by the Coordinator of the programme, Barrister Abdullahi Hussaini pointed out that the emergence of the CJTF was a child of necessity in the war against insurgency.
As at the time of its emergence there was no laid down rules or regulations for under aged children in the ranks of CJTF, as a result,the UN Task Force reported this  to UN Security Council and Nigeria was blacklisted to be among the committee of Nations that uses children in an armed conflict.”