Exclusive: Fears grow over UNICEF’s attempt to undermine war against terrorism in Nigeria

Exclusive:  Fears grow over UNICEF’s attempt to undermine war against terrorism in Nigeria

Chris Steven, Abuja

The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has become the latest international organization to join an international plot to destabilize Nigeria by undermining the fighting capabilities of the security forces.

UNICEF plans to achieve this through its Nigerian Office, which will present a report – Global Horizontal Notes (GHN) – to the embassy of the United States of America in Abuja that will accuse the Nigerian military of sundry violation against minors in the ongoing counter-terrorism war in the North east of the country.

Our correspondents exclusively gathered that the report would accuse the Nigerian Armed Forces of recruiting and using children below the age of 18 years to fight Boko Haram; that some boys being detained in Giwa barracks are being used for child labour; that Nigerian military intentionally killed over 100 children when it bombed the IDP camp in Rann; that Nigerian military has raped over 20 girls in IDPs camps and other locations in Borno state.

A source that is familiar with the report, but was not part of drafting it, disclosed that its content is basically a rehash of the campaign earlier undertaken by Amnesty International and other internationally affiliated Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

“The idea is to leverage UNICEF’s credibility and appeal as a United Nations’ organization that work for the interest of children, which gives it the advantage of not being perceived as a ‘western’ outfit with agenda,” the source revealed.

The international organization may, however, already be a victim of its own plot against Nigeria. Some of the staffers tasked with creating the report ended up being double agents as they infused contents at the behest of the countries of origin.

The report, authored by an Austrian, an Iranian and a Yemeni failed to steer off making insinuations about the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a group backed by Iran.

Presentation of the GHN report to the US is meant to indict Nigeria before that country for violating its Child’s Rights Law, which is expected to provoke the US to stop military support and sale of hardware to Nigeria.

The team responsible for the report held series of meetings, including telephone conferences at which they discussed how to document a higher number of incidents involving children to make the military look bad. Team members also agreed to avoid mentioning abuses by Boko Haram terrorists, which allows them to blame the Nigerian Army for abuses committed by the terror group.

Similarly, underage persons with the Civilian JTF, a loose voluntary groups of local fighting Boko Haram, are to be blamed on the military.

Another source that was privy to proceedings of the group revealed its members were not pleased that “only two cases (were) reported” for rape and other forms of sexual violence in the month of February 2018, which frustrated their expectations for a higher figure. Undeterred, the team expanded its definition to enable it increase the figure.

According to the source, “Things operate like a marketing firm where people have targets. Field officers are mandated to report on a minimum number of cases for a given duration to provide data that would fit a targeted narrative. If you don’t meet those it is seen as failing on your KPI.”

Staffers also coach IDPs and survivors of attacks on how to narrate their experiences for maximum impact while media representatives are encouraged to single out individual cases in writing their reports so that they can “give a face and voice” to any of the incident being reported in a practiced said to be aimed at causing outrage against troops and government.

Under the Obama Administration, a report by Amnesty International on a friendly fire incident involving the Air Force made the United States to block aircraft sales to Nigeria. Improved observance of rules of engagement under the current military and political leadership saw the US approving the sale of Super Tucano Aircrafts to Nigeria, a move that is seen as capable of completely decimating Boko Haram.

The tainted UNICEF’s GHN report could be targeted at a last-minute scuttling of the sales.

UNICEF Office in Nigeria has not commented on the report. The Nigerian Army declined comments, citing a policy of not responding to speculations since the report has not been released.