Lagos - The Special Representative of the United Nations
Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict said children growing up in
the country's northeast are in desperate need of protection from relentless
Leila Zerrougui, said this as she concluded a weeklong visit in Nigeria.
The Special Representative traveled to Nigeria to assess the
conflict impact on children.
She met the country's federal authorities, the authorities of Adamawa State,
the United Nations, the diplomatic community, civil society and other partners
during her trip.
In Yola, the Special Representative met with displaced
people from the conflict-affected areas, including children and women.
I witnessed people's shock and disbelief at the devastation suffered by their
communities. I saw trauma in children¹s eyes," she said.
"The scale of the suffering is way beyond what I
anticipated to find.
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The people I met demand and deserve urgent
In northern Nigeria, over 900 000 people, she said, many of
them women and children, had fled their homes.
More than 300 schools have been severely damaged or
destroyed, hundreds of children have been killed, injured or abducted from
their homes and schools.
Throughout 2014, the armed conflict in north-eastern Nigeria was one of the
world¹s deadliest for children.
The Special Representative is also concerned by reports of sexual violence
against girls, including forced marriages and rapes.
She said the beginning of 2015 brought again relentless
violence with the appalling suicide bombing committed by a girl allegedly as
young as ten, killing several people in a market in Maiduguri, termed as Boko
Haram's deadliest attack in the country.
Meanwhile, the Special Representative also met with the representatives of the
movement "Bring Back our Girls" and remains deeply concerned by the fate of the
more than 200 school girls abducted in Chibok in April 2014.
She said she was equally concerned by the fate of all
children abducted by Boko Haram.
"The United Nations continue their advocacy with
Nigerian authorities and support all efforts that could lead to the children's
release," she said.
- CAJ News