The Nigerian Army has released no fewer than 183 kids, formerly involved with Boko Haram, to Borno State Government and representatives of United Nations.
The latest release, made the total number of kids earlier involved in Boko Haram insurgency released by the military about 2,000.
The kids with age ranges from 7 to 16 were released by the head of the military counter-insurgency in the North East (Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole), Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas representing the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai handing the 183 kids, including eight girls who were used as bomb couriers to officials of Borno State and United Nations.
Representing Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, is Hon. Fanta Baba Shehu; Commissioner for Women Affairs and representing United Nations is Ibrahim Sesay, who stood in for Mr. Edward Kallon, Country Representative of United Nations and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria.
Speaking at the handing over of the kids, Nicholas said the decision was taken to hand them over to Borno State Government and United Nations agencies for proper management of their reintegration.
He said they have been in the custody of the Nigerian Army for sometimes, noting that the military has been working with the United Nations Children Fund on similar issue so as to ensure there was no relapse in the cases of the children, that is they did not join the insurgents back.
Baba-Shehu who represented the Borno State said that have received about 1000 plus children in the past.
She expressed the appreciation of Borno State Government and people to the military under the current COAS for giving the people of Borno State “free air.”
She also said Borno people remain indebted to the UN and it’s agencies for being there for Borno State in the time of need.
She promised the newly released kids that they would be looked after and made to get the best during rehabilitation and ever returned back home to reunite with their families
On his part, Sesay said the released was a significant moment and the day was impressive.
He said: “There has been great working relationship between UN system and the Nigerian Army.
He said with the latest release, the kid released is estimated at 2,000, stressing that the UN would work with all stakeholders to ensure the kids are reintegrated back to the society.
He said the transformation process of the kids was a long process and that the release was the first step but providing them with needed tools for reintegration, follows next.
He said there is over 7000 children in the ongoing reintegration plan of the UN in the area.