Centre trains 30 military officers on preventing recruitment of child soldiers in armed conflicts –

The Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC), on Thursday, graduated 30 officers in a course on the prevention of the recruitment and use of children as soldiers in armed conflicts.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training was in collaboration with the Apsta and Dallaire Institute Canada.

Addressing the officers at the MLAILPKC in Jaji Military Cantonment in Kaduna, the Commandant of the centre, Maj.-Gen. James Ataguba, said the training marked the end of two weeks intensive training of trainers for the participants.

“It is the beginning of a new relationship between the Dallaire Institute Canada and the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre.”

He said the collaboration was facilitated by the African Peace Support Trainers Association.

Ataguba explained that the prevention of the recruitment and use of children as soldiers in armed conflicts course was designed to provide the participants with the necessary skills and knowledge required to understand the impact of the use of child soldiers.

He added that the course was also aimed at equipping the officers to effectively teach and train personnel on the use of children in armed conflicts as well as be good ambassadors of the centre and the Dallaire Institute.

He urged them to make use of the skills and expertise learnt to reflect on their performance and conduct in future deployments.

“You are now vanguards of the new approach to preventing the recruitment and use of children as soldiers in armed conflicts”, Atugba said.

He thanked the facilitators from the Dallaire Institute for their commitment and service to humanity.

NAN reports that earlier, the event was opened by the signing of tri-party international Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between MLAILPKC, African Peace Support Trainers Association in Cameroon and the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security in Canada.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU via virtual conferencing, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya, said the outcome of the partnership would bring to fore the menace of recruitment and use of children as soldiers in armed conflicts, as well as improve the quality of the trainers of all the parties.

Yahaya was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen Anthony Omozoje, who was also represented by Maj.-Gen Elias Atu.

He said according to the child soldiers International, the use of children in armed
conflicts has increased significantly with a disturbing 159 percent rise since 2012, and almost 30,000 verified cases.

“Though in recent time in Nigeria, the incidences of the use of children as suicide bombers has reduced.

“However, the abduction of children by Boko Haram
and other criminal elements has not abated”, he said.

According to Yahaya, the act tends to create a cycle of violence where innocent children are indoctrinated and inherit the culture of

“Urgent steps like this training needs to be taken to curb these acts of grave violations, failure to do this will greatly impede the actualisation of the desired global peace and security”,Yahaya said.

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