The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, says members of the Boko Haram sect will be prosecuted for using female children as suicide bombers.
Adoke made the government’s position known in an advisory issued by him on January 21, where he expressed deep concern over 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 suicide bombers, a development that has become rampant in recent times. He reminded the perpetrators that the practice amounted to breaches of international and domestic laws that guaranteed the rights of children during periods of hostilities and armed conflicts.
“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,” he said.
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 15 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 commanders and personnel avoids the use or abuse of children and young persons in the current campaign, at all levels of engagement.
The attorney general added: “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 international obligations on protection of children and young persons remain unshakable and irreversible. No matter how long it takes, justice will certainly be done in due course.”