Governments should properly prosecute bandits.- UNICEF.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on the federal and state governments to ensure proper prosecution of bandits for the various crimes committed in several parts of the country.
NewsReport Nigeria reports that the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, said this while speaking to journalists in Borno State on Friday, August 18, ahead of the World Humanitarian Day to be commemorated on August 19.
“It scares me that bandits are not taken to court even though they have been assaulting and killing children and women, abducting and raping, etc. It scares me that no laws are applied to prosecute and punish them. If there is any legal process, I think there is a need for proper punishment for these people legally.” Munduate said.
She added that national and international laws be applied in prosecuting the bandits and that internally displaced people be better relocated to enable them to rebuild their lives properly.
She called for strengthening the judiciary to enable children to have access to education without fear of attacks.
Banditry and terrorism in Nigeria have persisted for over a decade, despite certain efforts by governments to address the issue.
It has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and property. The number of children lacking access to education has also been adversely affected due to the abduction of school children by terrorists, particularly in Northern Nigeria.
According to a report by Save the Children, at least 1,680 schoolchildren have been kidnapped in Nigeria since 2014.
The report also stated that at least 180 schoolchildren were killed and nearly 90 injured in 70 attacks between April 2014 and December 2022.
An estimated 60 school staff members have also been kidnapped, and 14 others have been killed. During this period, 25 school buildings were also destroyed by the bandits.
Beyond these, they are also responsible for various violent activities that have unsettled many communities in the northern part of the country.
Bandits were officially declared terrorists by former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in January 2022 after a court order stated that the activities of bandit groups in the country constituted acts of terrorism.
However, there have been several cases of amnesty being granted to terrorists by the government, which many Nigerians have condemned.