Borno State government has launched a campaign for the reconciliation and reintegration of women and children formerly associated with the Boko Haram insurgents.
At a ceremony at the Shehu of Borno’s Palace in Maiduguri, Commissioner for Information Alhaji Babakura Abba Jato said about 6,000 non-state combatants and their families have so far surrendered to the Nigerian government.
He however remarked that most of them are women and children who were forcefully conscripted into the group.
The commissioner assured that all the surrendered women and children will be properly profiled and undergo psychological intervention before been integrated into society.
Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai Elkanemi observe that the state had been battling with the crisis for 12 years, describing the mass surrender as a sign of peace returning to the state.
He however requested the involvement of district and village heads in the reintegration process.
Commissioner for Women Affairs Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo and UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office Phuong Nguyen explained that many of the children have been exploited as labourers, cooks, armour carriers, and spies, while others were forcefully married and tortured.
“What is clear is that exploitation of these boys and girls by armed groups must stop”, Phuong Nguyen said.
Traditional and religious leaders as well United Nations agencies and Development Partners were represented at the event.
Reporting by Dauda Iliya, editing by Muzha Kucha