9,933 Children Suffered Violation in 5 Years, Says UNICEF

No fewer than 9,933 Nigerian children were gravely violated between 2017 and 2021, a new United Nations Children’s Fund report has revealed.

The study titled ‘The economic cost of conflict in North-East Nigeria’ noted that the conflict had negatively impacted the country’s children and Gross Domestic Product per capita.

The United Nations defined six grave violations against children in armed conflict as killing and maiming of children; recruitment and use of children; sexual violence against children; attacks on schools or hospitals; abduction of children; and denial of humanitarian access.

The report noted that the conflict in the North-East had continued for years, reaching a peak of 10,000 annual direct conflict-related deaths in 2015.

“Although conflict deaths have since fallen to around 3,000 per annum, the humanitarian consequences continue to be immense, with 2.6 million people currently displaced internally in North-East Nigeria,” it said.

The data collected and verified by the UN through the monitoring of grave violations showed the cost to the children.

It said the direct effect of conflict, in terms of deaths and injury, loss of livelihoods, displacement, and damage to infrastructure were transformed into long-term economic impact.

The report showed that 2,205 Nigerian children were killed (1,209) or maimed (996) between 2017 and 2021.

Also, it said 5,537 children were recruited by armed groups.

For abductions, 244 children were abducted in 2017; there were 55 in 2019, and in 2021, the figure was 211.

In 2017, there were 151 rape or sexual violence cases against children; in 2019, it was seven, and in 2021, 53.

There were 70 attacks between 2017 and 2021. In 2018, there were more than 1,400 attacks on schools.

The cumulative cost of war from 2008 to 2021 revealed that Nigeria lost approximately $100bn due to the conflict in the North-East.

It projected that even if the conflict ended now, the cumulative losses would be $150bn to $200bn by 2030, while the cumulative losses by 2030 due to lost educational opportunities would be $150bn.