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894 Child Soldiers Released From Civilian JTF In Maiduguri – UNICEF

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said that 894 children have been released from the ranks of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Maiduguri.

The children, including 106 girls were released on Friday as part of commitments to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the fight against insurgents.

According to a statement from UNICEF, the release would be followed up with reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life.

“Any commitment for children that is matched with action is a step in the right direction for the protection of children’s rights and must be recognised and encouraged,” said Mohamed Fall, Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria and the Co-chair of United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Child Rights Violations (CTFMR).

“Children of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict. They have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and witnessed death, killing and violence. This participation in the conflict has had serious implications for their physical and emotional well-being.”

The organisation further stated that since September 2017, when the CJTF signed an action plan committing to putting measures in place to end and prevent recruitment and use of children, 1,727 children and young people have been released. Since then, there has been no new recruitment of children by the CJTF.

It also noted that the children and young people released today will benefit from reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life, seize new opportunities for their own development, and contribute to bringing lasting peace in Nigeria, as productive citizens of their country.

According to the UNICEF, without this support, many of the children released from armed groups struggle to fit into civilian life, as most are not educated and have no vocational skills.

More than 3,500 children are said to have been recruited and used by non-state armed groups in the conflicts in northern Nigeria between 2013 and 2017.

According to UNICEF, others have been abducted, maimed, raped and killed.

“We cannot give up the fight for the children, as long as children are still affected by the fighting. We will continue until there is no child left in the ranks of all armed groups in Nigeria,” Fall said.

The organization says it would continue to work closely with state authorities and partners to support the implementation of reintegration programmes for all children released from armed groups, as well as others affected by the ongoing conflict.

The gender and age-appropriate community-based reintegration support interventions include an initial assessment of their well-being, psychosocial support, education, vocational training, informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihoods.

At least 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities, have accessed such services between 2017 and 2018.

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Presidency confirms Mohammed as IGP

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President Muhammadu Buhari Thursady confirmed Adamu Mohammed as the new Inspector General of police.

Mohammed’s confirmation was announced at the police council meeting which was presided over by Buhari in Aso Rock, Abuja.

The IGP was appointed in the acting capacity on January 15. He took over from former IGP, Ibrahim Idris who retired from service.

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We’ll Treat Anyone Associated With IPOB As A Terrorist – Abia CP

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The Abia State Police Command has warned the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against any activity capable of truncating the peace and safety of the residents.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ene Okon, gave the warning in an interview on Channels Television.

He said that anyone or group of persons associated with IPOB will be termed as a terrorist and dealt with severely.

“The Nigeria Police Force In Abia will treat any person associated with IPOB as a terrorist and such a person or group of persons will be dealt with according to the law”.

The commissioner’s comment comes in reaction to the sit-at-home-order issued by the proscribed movement, scheduled to come into effect on May 30, 2019.

He noted that security personnel have been put in strategic places, thereby assuring residents to go about their activities without fear.

“I am assuring the good people of Abia to disregard the illegal order and go about their normal businesses as there is every assurance of protection of lives and properties”, he added.

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EFCC arrests Kwara Assembly clerk over alleged N400m severance pay

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently investigating alleged illegal payment of about N400 million to some members of the Kwara state House of Assembly, it was gathered.

Accordingly, the anti-graft body is quizzing Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Sola Gold and the Clerk of the state House of Assembly, Kperogi Halimat Jummai over the alleged payment.

EFCC source maintained that the payment did not follow due process.

It was gathered that all the 24 lawmakers were two weeks ago paid the sum of N400 million severance package, when their tenure is yet to expire.

The petitioner said even though the lawmakers and members of the state executive council are entitled to severance package, it is the next administration that is supposed to pay the money, a source at the EFCC has said.

“More worrisome is the issue of furniture allowance running to hundreds of millions of naira according to the petitioner which they wanted it pay along with severance package,” the petitioner added.

Speaker of the Assembly Dr Ali Ahmed had in a letter with Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, confirmed that the lawmakers are entitled to severance package at the end of their tenure on June 7th this year.

The letter reads that “in accordance with the provisions of the revenue mobilization, allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) honourable members are entitled to 200 percent of their annual basic salaries as their severance gratuity allowance at the end of their tenure of office.”

The clerk of the house, Halimat Jummai Kperogi confirmed that the lawmakers had received their severance package.

She was said to have told the operatives of the EFCC that Governor Ahmed approved the payment of the package.

Kperogi said “in a meeting of the principal officers of the Kwara House of Assembly wherein I was scheduled to be the secretary, held on May 8th, 2019, issue of severance gratuity to the honourable members was raised, the principal officers were informed that the state government has approved the payment of the severance gratuity.”

“At the meeting, I informed the house that the governor had approved the payment. I added that members were expected to be paid after the expiration of their tenure of office. The house debated it and they overruled me.”

Alhaji Gold on the other hand wrote and sought for the approval of the severance gratuity and furniture allowances amounting to about N300 million for some members of the state executive council.

Gold, in a letter to the governor dated May 8th, 2019 said “your Excellency, by virtue of the provisions of Kwara state remuneration of political and public office holders laws, certain category of political and public office holders are entitled to severance and furniture allowances of their basic salaries respectively upon
successful completion of tenure.”

Alhaji Gold said that while the lawmakers had received their monies, members of the state executive council are yet to receive their gratuity.

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