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Reasons why children are main targets of armed groups in northern Nigeria

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Due to growing insecurity, Nigeria is gradually becoming one of the most dangerous places to live. The 2020 Global Terrorism Index identified the country as the third most affected by terrorism.

There was a sharp increase in Boko Haram’s targeting of civilians by 25 per cent, and killings by herdsmen increased by 26%, compared with the previous year. The two countries higher on the index are Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the Nigeria Security Tracker, 2,769 violent deaths were recorded between February 2020 and February 2021 in Borno State alone. Similarly, ransom-kidnapping by armed groups has increased substantially in the past five years. Over $18 million was paid as ransom for kidnapped victims between 2011 and 2020.

While insecurity is common in Nigeria, the northern region has been most affected. This is due to Boko Haram attacks, banditry, farmers-herdsmen conflicts, kidnappings and ethno-religious conflicts. Sadly, children have not been spared.

In the North-east, children have been murdered, abducted and used as sex slaves, forcefully recruited as child soldiers, and suffer from diseases and malnutrition at the Internally Displaced Persons camps. The United Nations says almost 4,000 children were killed in just a year, 2015 to 2016.

UNICEF reported that an estimated 1.9 million people are displaced – and about 60 per cent of them are children; many under the age of five. The rising phenomenon has further manifested in the recent wave of attacks on schools and kidnapping of students.

My research published last year highlights why children have become targets for the armed groups in northern Nigeria. This paper focuses on children in the Boko Haram conflict, which has for over 10 years ravaged the northeastern part of Nigeria and around Lake Chad.

Despite the reality that children have increasingly become the face of insecurity in northern Nigeria, the literature has been silent on issues related to child security. My study, therefore, aimed to address the perspective of children in the conflict.

I found that children were of strategic interest to both the terrorists and the state security forces. I concluded that child security had not been given sufficient attention in Nigeria, and that child security should be included in peace-building efforts in northeastern Nigeria.

Children and conflict in northern Nigeria

The dimension of children in violent conflicts in northern Nigeria gained momentum in 2013 when Boko Haram adopted the strategy of direct attacks on schools, hospitals and centres for internally displaced people.

It started with the midnight raid of a dormitory in Gujba, Yobe State, leading to the murder of 44 schoolboys by the terrorist group in September 2013. Five months later, another boarding school was attacked, and 59 boys were murdered in the same state. In April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok in Borno State.

UNICEF in its 2018 report said that the group had kidnapped over 1,000 children since 2013. Between 2015 and 2016, the UN estimated that 3,909 children were killed.

In the past five years, the rise of banditry added a new and dangerous dimension to attacks on children. On December 11 2020, 333 students were kidnapped in Kankara, Katsina State.

On December 20 2020, 80 students at an Islamic school were kidnapped in Mahuta, Katsina State. Twenty seven students were abducted in Kagara, Niger State, on February 17 2021.

The latest occurred on February 25 with the abduction of 317 schoolgirls in Jangebe, Talata-Mafara local government, Zamfara State.

Why children are prime targets

Our study used a qualitative approach, relying on data from institutional reports of intergovernmental agencies like the United Nations, United Nations Children’s Fund, and International Organisation for Migration; non-governmental agencies like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, Mercy Corps, Open Doors and media reports.

The research showed that children were of strategic interest to the armed groups for many reasons. First, targeting children proved effective as a tool to negotiate for the release of members of the group in prison and receive huge ransoms to purchase weapons and fund their operations.

Second, the armed groups were interested in children to gain local and international attention to show their strength, seek international collaborations with similar groups, and amplify their demands on the state authorities.

Third, children were useful for their military operations, especially for terrorist groups. They could plant explosives, act as human shields or suicide bombers, and spy on the other parties because they didn’t arouse suspicion.

Fourth, the attack on schools corresponded with the central ideology driving terrorism in the region, which was based on opposition to Western education. The increased attacks showed the plan was to make the region insecure for teaching and learning.

Fifth, girls were of interest to the armed groups for sexual exploitation. Abducted girls were sometimes raped or forced into marriages in the camps.

Nigeria must safeguard children more

Child security has not been given sufficient attention in Nigeria.

This explains the successful attacks on children in recent times. Child security underscores the essence of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child, which Nigeria is a party to.

The government must show serious commitment to children’s security by tackling the rising problem of insecurity ravaging the country. The paper underscores the need for specialised programmes that can address the peculiar challenges of children involved in the conflict zones and not merely incorporate them into adult-focused or general programmes.

The international community, including important nongovernmental organisations promoting children’s rights and welfare, must also compel the authorities to secure the children and internationalise the problem of child insecurity in Nigeria.

The Conversation is Premium Times syndication partner. We have permission to republish.

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I Heard He Had His Pu.bic Hairs Put On His Face- 50 Cent Trolls Mayweather’s Hair Again

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GhGossip

When it comes to trolling in the Hip Hop world, no one does it better than Hip Hop legend and business mogul 50 Cent as he is on the ‘neck’ of Floyd Mayweather again with his trolls.

50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson and Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather has been in a very long ‘unsettled’ beef for a very long time now with both successful business men throwing shades at each other with the least opportunity.

But 50 Cent is way above Mayweather in trolls as he mostly makes the Boxing champ always feels uncomfortable on social media. Recall he started trolling Mayweather with his hair when the former welterweight Boxing champion made a public appearance with a heavy mustache could of months ago.

50 Cent in a post on social media posted the photo of his former best friend Mayweather with the heavy mustache trolling him that he took some hair from his ‘a$$’ and implanted it around his mouth.

The television guru couple of months ago wanted to settle the long beef with his former best friend in a boxing match after he threw a challenge to Mayweather of which Mayweather accepted the challenge for the boxing match.

But 50 Cent knowing what he was doing later called off the match 48 hours after Mayweather accepted the match saying the head of the ‘The Money Team’ can’t read two paragraphs of his best New Times Selling Book.

Well 50 Cent is back again trolling Mayweather about his hair when camera captured the Boxing champ with fully grown hair on his head during a pre-match brawl with YouTuber Jack Paul last night.

Floyd like you can’t show people my hair. LOL

WTF going on, on champ head… I heard he had his pubic hairs put on his face. Lol #bransoncognac#lecheminduroi

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Patience Ozokwor, Others React As Aki And Paw Reveals Intentions To Resume Acting Together

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GhGossip

In a post sighted on his Instagram page Osita wrote: “@chineduikedieze How far Edu? Just over here soliloquising. I just they see Dm and old clips everywhere. Guess is time to answer the call of nature and drop something. How you see am?”

Chinedu replied and wrote; @ositalheme, this will be interesting ooo
Should we give them a movie or series?

Guys what do you think?
Should we give you a movie or tv series,
What should we call it?

Celebrities and fans could not hold themselves as they trooped under the comment section to react to the news. Below are some reactions

“@patienceozokwo wrote “Whatever you call it we will watch”

@alexxekubo wrote “Yesssssssss we are ready”

@dilly_cious wrote “They may not look funny again because they look like big rich men now with pot bellies… Not the smallish aki and paw paw we know”

@thevc_store wrote “They are no longer funny now they have grown older cos they now act serious roles. The fun was in their mischievousness as children”

@badgirlsimz wrote “it won’t be interesting”

crazeclown wrote: AHHHHH PLEASEEEEEE I BEG UNA 😢 A MOVIE AND SERIES

adaameh wrote : All join 🙌🙌🔥🔥❤️❤️

aphricanace wrote: Yessooo…movie for sure!!!! We want another classic like 2 rats or aki na ukwa 🔥❤️

realchidimmaaneke wrote: We can’t wait to see you both

amazingklef wrote:A very funny series and movies !

officialowengee wrote: Give us a Movie, whatever name you decide will be good

mary_lazarus wrote: Very nice🙌🙌🙌

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DJ Cuppy slams troll who can’t stand her ‘transition to motherhood’ with puppies

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Celebrity disc jockey, Dj Cuppy savagely responds to a follower who subtly attacked her for showing extra care to her puppies.

The billionaire’s daughter had shared photos of her puppies wrapped in cosy towels as she affirms how the transition to motherhood has touched and made her a softer person.
“Motherhood is already making me a better person… I might even do giveaway soon,” Cuppy wrote while sharing photos of her puppies.

DJ Cuppy slams troll who can't stand her 'transition to motherhood' with puppies

In reaction, a follower expressed exhaustion of the renowned DJ’s act as he blatantly stated that he is so done with her behaviours.

“I cannot stand Cuppy anymore,” he wrote.

DJ Cuppy, however, did not let it cool before savagely firing back by telling the fan to ‘sit down’ since she cannot stand her anymore.

See their exchange below …

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