COUNTER-TERRORISM: NIGERIA PARTNERS EU, UNODC AGAINST CHILD RECRUITMENT

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As part of its strategies to overcome terrorism, the Federal Government has strengthened collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) to stop the recruitment and attack on children by terrorist groups.

This was disclosed in a meeting held at the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) where it was agreed among stakeholders to address as a matter of urgency, the problem of child enrollment into terrorist groups in Nigeria.

Coming under the scheme “Strive Juvenile”, the Communications Associate of UNODC, Ms. Olivia OgechiOkorondu, said the meeting provided an opportunity for state and non-state stakeholders to identify important areas of technical support that will enhance national capabilities.

According to her, this would guarantee an end to the conscription and abuse of school children and ensure the reintegration of children who had earlier been enlisted, as well as ensure justice and security responses.

Rear Adm. Y.E.M Musa, the Coordinator of Counter-Terrorism Centre, Office of the National Security Adviser also spoke on the imperativeness of giving consideration to prevailing official structures in order to adequately address and end the menace.

He said,  “Through situation analysis, the development of a better understanding of existing institutional and social structures at the national and local levels to address the issue of children’s recruitment by terrorist and violent extremist groups, is key to boosting the national ownership drive of the implementation of STRIVE Juvenile,”

Also, the Cooperation Officer of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, JérômeRivière emphasized the essentiality of establishing an authority at the national level to fast-track all-around discourse that will address the issue at hand.

He asserted that “Such mechanisms like the Steering Committee Meeting, remain crucial to enhancing national ownership and enable STRIVE Juvenile partners to set up viable and sustainable project infrastructures and architecture at the federal, state and local levels,”

Remarking that the EU and Nigeria are important associates for UNODC to sustain the rights of school children in conformity with the office of Strategic Vision for Africa 2030, the UNODC Country Representative, Oliver Stolpe said the organization welcomes the privilege of working with anybody in order to protect children terrorism.

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