No Child Fighters Among Civilian JTF, Says Global Amnesty Watch

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Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

A humanitarian organisation, Global Amnesty Watch, Tuesday said findings have shown that there is no child fighter among the Civilian JTF fighting Boko Haram in the North-east.

The organisation said the report published recently which also accused the Nigerian government and military authorities of complicities and contravention of the Child Soldier Prohibition Act, CSPA, 2008, was a disservice.
The organisation, addressing a press conference in Maiduguri after conducting an investigation into allegations by the United States that children were recruited in the war against insurgency by the Civilian JTF, said there was no truth in the accusation.

The Country Representative of the organisation, Mrs. Helen Adesola, said: “An investigation by the Global Amnesty Watch found that the US 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report that accused the Civilian JTF of recruiting children in the fight against Boko Haram is false.”

She lamented that: “A likely consequence of this is further unveiling of sanctions and measures against Nigeria that could tilt the balance in favour of terrorists as opposed to safeguarding the wellbeing of the civilian population that had been forced in the past to adopt desperate ploys to stay safe.”
She warned that: “It became pertinent that far reaching decisions are not taken on the strength of faulty report or flawed research.”

Adesola revealed: “The Global Amnesty Watch investigated the allegations of the recruitment and use of children or underage persons as fighters by the Civilian JTF using various methodologies to ensure that all possible areas are covered.
“These include: Content analysis of records to which members of the Civilian JTF are subscribed; Content analysis of media reports of the activities of Civilian JTF; Review of field reports from Global Amnesty Watch researchers and experts and witness interviews.”

She said the researchers interviewed 148 respondents in all the local government areas of Yobe and Borno States, with findings showing no minor was recruited.