TERRORISM, ARMED CONFLICT AND THE NIGERIAN CHILD
LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR CHILD RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT IN NIGERIA
Children, broadly defined as all persons under the age of 18, are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of terrorist activities, armed conflict, internal strife or situations of militarized violence. The unique vulnerabilities of children to terrorist activities manifest in three broad contexts: children are increasingly
recruited by terrorist groups, such as the Boko Haram, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Pakistani Taliban, as child soldiers or suicide bombers. Secondly, children who lose their parents or guardian to armed conflict are often stranded, demobilized, tortured or recruited as child participants in armed
internal conflicts or terrorist groups; and thirdly, state actions aimed to quash militancy and terrorism have, on many occasions,
impacted the health and welfare of children. In recognition of their unique vulnerabilities, international law has, over the last decade,
emphasised the need for tailored and holistic legal regimes designed to protect, fulfil and realize the fundamental human rights of children, as parts of national counter-terrorism efforts. Despite this growing emphasis on the need to integrate child rights into national counter-terrorism frameworks, the recognition and protection offered to child rights, under the Nigerian legal framework on terrorism, remains at best, inconsistent and at worst, inadequate. This article evaluates the impacts of terrorist activities on the enforcement of the right of the child in Nigeria. It discusses the need for a holistic legal framework for protecting and realizing the rights of Nigerian children who are impacted by terrorist activities and internal armed conflicts.