More children released from administrative custody in North-east

By Gloria Essien, Abuja

UNICEF Nigeria Acting Representative, Pernille Ironside

Twenty-three boys and two girls have been released from Nigerian Army administrative custody after being cleared of suspected ties with armed groups.

This brings the number of children so far released this year to 44.

The children were handed over to the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and will be kept at a UNICEF supported Transit Centre whilst efforts to reunite them with their families and reintegrate them back to their communities are underway.

UNICEF Nigeria Acting Representative, Pernille Ironside says “these are children taken away from their families and communities, deprived of their childhood, education, health-care, and of the chance to grow up in a safe and enabling environment. UNICEF will continue working to ensure that all conflict affected children are reunited with their families, have hope of fulfilling their dreams and their human rights.” 

She said that they would access medical and psycho-social support, education, vocational training and informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve their livelihoods.

“We have made progress but we would like to see all children suspected of involvement with armed groups, transferred out of military custody to the care of the relevant local authorities as quickly as possible to facilitate their return to their families and communities, spending minimal, if any, time in detention. As we commemorate the 30th Anniversary for the Convention of the Rights of the Child this year, we must collectively commit to do more for the protection, well-being and development of children in Nigeria, including by ensuring that they are not recruited or used in conflicts in the first place,” Ironside said.

Since 2016, a total of 2,499 people including 1,627 children have been cleared of association with non-state armed groups.

UNICEF and partners have continued to provide age and gender appropriate community-based reintegration support services to all affected children and other vulnerable children in communities that are at risk of recruitment by armed groups.


Mercy Chukwudiebere