Taskforce meeting on Handover Protocol implementation Plan for Children alledged to be associated with armed conflict taking place in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
By Dauda Iliya
The United Nations Children Fund UNICEF says four thousand, two hundred and four children associated with armed conflict in the North East have been handed over to government of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states for reintegration.
UNICEF Child Protection Manager, Maiduguri Field Office Samuel Sesay stated this at a two-day Taskforce meeting on Handover Protocol implementation plan in Maiduguri.
The Handover Protocol is an agreement signed in 2022 between the Federal government and United Nations to ensure children associated with armed conflict are removed from military facilities.
Mr. Sesay explained that the Protocol is a step by step procedure on how children who either escape from the custody of armed group or released by the insurgents do not stay long in military facilities before been released to the ministry of Women Affairs for proper reintegration.
“The Protocol is about children who are affected by the armed conflict, wherein when they are released, how are they released, how long should they take with the military and who to hand them over to and what to do with them” Sesay said.
Borno state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo represented by the acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry Alhaji Mohamed Hamza lauded the commitment of the actors for putting in place the Protocol and urged for proper implementation of the framework.
She identified challenges encountered by the ministry in the course of implementation to include social integration of children associated with armed conflict and economic challenges for the adolescents.
“Stakeholders present here must ensure that all child protection concerns are addressed comprehensively with full respect to guiding principles of child rights, including the children best interest, non-discrimination, active participation of children and the need to ensure their right to life and development ” the Commissioner stressed.
Hajiya Zuwaira expressed her readiness to ensure children alledged to have been associated with armed groups are released to ministry for Women Affairs within the stipulated seven days and provide them with comprehensive welfare package.
Correspondent Dauda Iliya reports that members of the Taskforce comprised officials from Federal ministries of Women Affairs, Defence, Humanitarian Affairs, Office of the National Security Adviser, the military and United Nations.