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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that Boko Haram has been recruiting 8, 000 boys and girls into child soldiers in the Northeast since 2009.

The 13-year insurgency has also killed 40. 000 people with the destruction of property worth $9.1 billion {N3.42 trillion) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Phuong Nguyen, yesterday (Monday), in a statement in the Borno state capital, disclosed this to mark International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers or Red Hand Day.

According to her, Boko Haram and other armed groups recruited and used the male and female child soldiers in different roles across Nigeria.

She added that the over a decade insurgency has disrupted livelihoods and access to essential services for children and their families.

Phuong lamented that about a million homes and 5,000 classrooms have also been torched in the lingering armed conflict.

She, therefore, called for an immediate end to the recruitment and use of innocent children as soldiers, including conflict-related other roles.

Besides, she added: “It is unacceptable and unconscionable that girls and boys continue to serve on the frontlines of a conflict they did not start.

“There should be an end to the recruitment and use of children by armed groups,” stating that children in the custody of armed groups be released.”

“We must do more to ensure that Nigeria’s children do not suffer the worst impacts of conflict,” she declared.

She warned that every day of delay in the custody of armed groups is a tragedy with grave implications for the children and their families.

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