AS NIGERIA joins to
commemorates this year’s
Children’s Day, UNICEF has
reported that an estimated
743,000 children have been
uprooted by the conflict
in the three most affected
states in Nigeria and that the
number of unaccompanied
and separated children
could be as high as 10,000.
This was contained in a
press release sent to Pilot
by Geoffrey Njoku of the
UNICEF office from an IDP
Camp in Maiduguri, Borno
UNICEF condemned the
use of children as suicide
bombers and the increase
in the numbers of suicide
bombings which it said is
an alarming and appalling
trend in the perpetration of
violence against children.
More children and women
have been used as suicide
bombers in Northeast
Nigeria in the first five
months of this year than
during the whole of last
year, according to UNICEF
It said, ‘’ in 2014, 26 suicide
attacks were recorded
compared to 27 attacks as of
May 2015. In at least threequarters
of these incidents,
children and women were
reportedly used to carry out
the attacks. Girls and women
have been used to detonate
bombs or explosives belts
at crowded locations, such
as market places and bus
Jean Gough, UNICEF
Representative in Nigeria
said, “Children are not
instigating these suicide
attacks; they are used
intentionally by adults in the
most horrific way,” “They
are first and foremost victims
– not perpetrators.”
Since July 2014, nine suicide
incidents involving children
aged between approximately
7 and 17 years – all of them
girls – have been reported.
Their identity and exact ages
have not been verified, as
estimates are based primarily
on eyewitness accounts.
“Many children have been
separated from their families
when they fled the violence,
and have no one to look
after them,” said Gough.
“Without the protection
of their families, these
children are at greater risk of
exploitation by adults, and
this can lead to involvement
in criminal or armed group
UNICEF is concerned
that the increasing use of
children as suicide bombers
could lead to children being
perceived as potential
threats, which would put
all children associated
with armed groups at risk
of retaliation and would
impede their rehabilitation
and reintegration in the
UNICEF said that with its
partners are working with
national authorities to reduce
children’s vulnerability by
identifying children who are
without parents or relatives,
and providing them with
appropriate care.
In addition, over 35,000
children have been reached
with psychosocial support so
they can cope with the acute
distress they have suffered
as a result of the conflict, it