The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, has said that the Federal Government will prosecute members of Boko Haram for using female children as suicide bombers.
In an advisory he issued on January 21st, Adoke said he was deeply concerned by reports that young children were being used as suicide bombers in violation of the innocence of the children.
He condemned the use of girls as bombers and reminded perpetrators that this practice amounted to breaches of international and domestic laws that guaranteed the rights of children during periods of hostilities and armed conflicts.
He said:”I therefore consider it my duty to issue this advisory primarily to put all terrorist elements on notice that the current hostilities in the north-east region will not compromise the resolve of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to enforce all domestic laws and international conventions to which we are party.
“I also wish to reiterate the fact that no matter how long it takes, all violators of the said laws and conventions will ultimately be brought to justice.”
The minister said that as a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal court, Nigeria was under obligation to abide by and enforce, the provisions of Article 8(2)(b) which made it a war crime to conscript children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities.
He also called on the military high command to ensure that “its responsibility to avoid the use or abuse of children and young persons in the current campaign is imbibed by its commanders and personnel at all levels of engagement.”
He assured the international community of the determination of the Federal Government to continue to uphold its international obligations.
He said:”Our resolve to prosecute terrorist elements and any other person who undertake the active use of children in hostilities or armed conflicts, or engage in other unlawful acts contrary to our domestic laws and internationals obligations on protection of children and young persons remain unshakeable and irreversible. No matters how long it takes, justice will certainly be done in due course.”