- President Buhari has restated his commitment in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria
- The president pledged that the Nigerian children being held in captivity would soon be freed
- Buhari made the promise in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the AU summit
Following his government's efforts to end insurgency in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has reassured Nigerians and the international community of the steadfast commitment of his administration to secure the freedom of all children and other victims of abduction by terrorists.
Legit.ng reports that the president renewed the pledge on Monday, February 10, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a high-level breakfast dialogue on "stop the war on children affected by armed conflicts, dividend of silencing the guns,’’ a side event during the 33rd AU summit.
This was revealed in a statement issued by the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, on the evening of Monday, February 10.
The programme was co-sponsored by the governments of Nigeria, Uganda and Norway, the AU Commission and Save the Children.
Speaking on the occasion, President Buhari said that a number of schoolgirls from Chibok and Dapchi earlier abducted by Boko Haram have regained their freedom.
He said his government commended the gallant efforts of the Multinational Joint Task Force and the partners in supporting the reintegration of the girls.
''Let me categorically reassure you of the steadfast commitment of the government of Nigeria to ensure the freedom of all kidnapped children from the shackles of Boko Haram. We will not relent until every child, boy, or girl, every Nigerian adult in custody of Boko Haram, is freed," he said.
The president urged African countries and stakeholders on the continent to work fervently towards strengthening the protection of children from the six grave violations during armed conflict.
The six grave violations are killing and maiming of children, recruitment or use of children as soldiers, sexual violence against children, abduction of children, attacks against schools or hospitals and denial of humanitarian access for children.
President Buhari expressed concern that these grave violations against children have continued unabated.
''It is for this reason that the Nigerian government has severally condemned, and is combating frontally the dreadful activities of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State.
''Of course, the severity of these grave violations varies from country to country. The incidence of a single violation of children's rights in any country is an indelible dent on the African consciousness and is to be deplored and condemned,'' he said.
He also used the occasion to outline some concrete measures taken by Nigeria towards tackling the root causes of child soldiers and the misfortune of out-of-school children.
''To stem the tide of out-of-school children Nigeria embarked on an all-inclusive reconstruction of schools vandalized by the ravaging terrorist activities of Boko Haram while returning children are rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
The Nigerian leader also called on the AU peace and security council to energetically champion the strategy to stop the war on children and adopt the child protection architecture within the African peace and security architecture and the roadmap on silencing the guns.
''The call to action is now for accountability by all African States to the rights of the children caught up in wars.
''Let us stop the war on children. This is a wake-up call for us all to create the enabling environment for rooting out the impact of armed conflicts against our children across the continent,'' he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Nigerian presidency reacted to the statement credited to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on the Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents some years ago.
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