The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Maiduguri has signed an action plan to end and prevent recruitment and use of children.

According to the plan, CJTF will identify and release all children within its ranks and instruct its members not to recruit or use children in the future.

CJTF president Lawan Jaffar and the UNICEF country representative Mohamed Fall co-signed the plan in Borno in the presence of Borno’s deputy solicitor-general Abdullahi Izge.

“We have seen too many childhoods destroyed by the crisis in the northeast,” said Fall.

“Today’s agreement is an important milestone for child protection and paves the way for a brighter future for children caught up in the conflict.”

UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, signed the action plan in New York as a witness, insisting it “brings hope for boys and girls deeply affected by the conflict in northeast Nigeria.”

“Now that the Action Plan has been signed, I urge the CJTF to fully implement it in order to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children once and for all. The UN stands ready to support the CJTF in this process,” she added.

CJTF was formed in 2013 to support military forces against Boko Haram and protect local communities from attacks by the terrorist group.

It has progressively expanded over the years, engaged in security operations and more recently, involved in providing security to camps for internally displaced populations.

Last year, the CJTF was listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s Annual Report for Children and Armed Conflict for the recruitment and use of children.

Since then UNICEF has been working with the group and Nigerian authorities to develop the action plan.