The Nigerian Army on Monday formally handed over 183 children linked with Boko Haram in the North East region to the United Nations Children and Education Fund (UNICEF) for rehabilitation.
The Chief Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said that the handover was in line with the international laws for the protection of children in conflict.
Buratai, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, said that the children included 175 boys and eight girls.
He explained that some of them were used as fighters and suicide bombers by the insurgents.
The Army chief said that the children would undergo comprehensive psychological support and rehabilitation programme to facilitate their integration into the society.
Buratai reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to end insurgency and ensure the protection of human rights.
Mr Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator to Nigeria, said the UN welcomed the release of the 183 children suspected of Boko Haram ties.
Kallon, represented by Ibrahim Cecee, noted that the release was sequel to the clearance of the children, aged between 7 and 18; of ties with the insurgents.
“The eight girls and 175 boys are first and foremost victims of the ongoing conflict and their release is an important step on their long road to recovery.
“We will work with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and partners to provide the children with all the assistance they need.
“I also want to commend the action taken by the military and the authorities, it demonstrates a clear commitment to better protect children affected by the ongoing conflict,” he said. (NAN)