US Slams Borno Govt For Aiding Recruitment Of Child Soldiers

The United States government in its latest report on human trafficking, has indicted the Borno State government for actively supporting the recruitment of child soldiers in the North east.

While praising the federal government for its spirited efforts in combating the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, it, however, indicted the government of Kashim Shettima for supporting “a group involved with the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.”

The report, released Monday, ranked Nigeria in its tier two category – the same rating the country received in 2014.

The report noted that while Shettima warned the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, that the recruitment and use of child soldiers was prohibited, the state government tacitly lent its support for the group’s activities.

The Department of State, author of the report, also said although Nigeria took decisive efforts in curtailing the activities of child traffickers, the country remains a main centre for trafficking in persons both internally and externally for the past one year.

“Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Nigerian trafficking victims are recruited from rural and, to a lesser extent, urban areas: women and girls for domestic servitude and sex trafficking and boys for forced labor in street vending, domestic service, mining, stone quarrying, agriculture, textiles manufacturing, and begging,” the report highlighted.

It added that young boys in Quoranic schools, commonly known as Almajiri children, are subjected to forced begging while Nigerian women and children were taken from the shores of Nigeria to other West and Central African countries, as well as to South Africa, where they were exploited for the same purposes.

It however agreed that the Nigerian government had made efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.



    It noted that the efforts were not yielding results.

    “The government maintained strong anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. In March 2015, the government passed amendments to the 2003 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act, which increase the penalties for trafficking offenders. The law prohibits all forms of trafficking. It prescribes a minimum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a minimum fine of one million naira ($5,470) for labor trafficking offenses. The law prescribes a minimum penalty of five years’ imprisonment for sex trafficking offenses and a minimum fine of one million naira ($5,470); the minimum penalty increases to seven years’ imprisonment if the case involves a child. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape,” the report noted.

    It also hailed the efforts of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters, NAPTIP, for its laudable efforts aimed at curbing the social scourge.

    “NAPTIP conducted 509 trafficking investigations, completed 56 prosecutions, and secured 30 convictions during the reporting period, compared with 314 investigations, 43 prosecutions, and 42 convictions in the previous reporting period. The decrease in convictions is likely a result of a three-month strike by the judiciary. An additional 150 prosecutions remained pending at the end of the reporting period,” the report said.

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement


    - Advertisement