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UNICEF tasks Buhari on child safety, combating terrorism


unicef WITH Nigeria’s general elections concluded, the international community is urging the incoming government to ensure that the war against terror groups and care for victims of terrorism is given top priority.

A report from the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) says the incoming administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari should, “put children and their safety at the heart of the national agenda,” as it says more than 800,000 children have been displaced by Boko Haram terrorist activities in northeastern Nigeria.

UNICEF made the requests in a report released yesterday to coincide with one-year anniversary of the abduction of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok town by Boko Haram. Earlier at the weekend, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria and Africa Expert at the U.S. Council for Foreign Relations, Ambassador John Campbell, also issued a statement where he noted that there is a global expectation that the incoming president, General Buhari, can significantly combat the Boko Haram terror group.

In the statement titled “Buhari is the man to defeat Boko Haram,” the diplomat noted that Nigeria may have finally elected a leader who can turn things around. According to UNICF, “more than 1.5 million people have fled their homes due to the violence.

This includes 1.2 million displaced inside Nigeria and around 200,000 who have crossed into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger after their villages were attacked or threatened.” The global agency for children then disclosed that, “the number of children forced from their homes has more than doubled in the past year, reaching 800,000 children.

The report added that vast majority of the displaced, now more than 880,000 displaced children “are staying with host communities with little access to humanitarian support, putting additional strains on already stretched health, education and social services.”

According to the report entitled “Missing childhood: The impact of armed conflict on Nigeria and beyond,” UNICEF noted that, “throughout northeast Nigeria and across the border regions in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, children are in critical danger,” adding that insecurity caused by the conflict between Boko Haram, military forces and civilian self-defence groups in northeast Nigeria.

The report noted that this has now escalated into a worsening humanitarian crisis. The conflict, the 11-page report disclosed, “has forced thousands of people from their homes.

Countless number of children, women and men have been abducted, abused and forcibly recruited, and women and girls have been targeted for particularly horrific abuse, including sexual enslavement.

Villages and towns have been looted and destroyed.” Bothered about the impact of the crisis on Nigerian children, UNICEF said, “schools have been attacked. The conflict is exacting a heavy toll on children, affecting not just their well-being and their safety, but also their access to basic health, education and social services.”

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