Specifically, the president waived more than $12.9 million in Direct Commercial Sales, $1.1 million in Foreign Military Financing, more than $7.2 million in Foreign Military Sales, more than $5.1 million in International Military Education and Training, and more than $32.3 million in Section 1206 or Section 333 assistance. The president has never denied Nigeria any arms sales or military assistance due to CSPA prohibitions.
According to the U.S. State Department, Nigerian armed forces and a government-supported militia known as the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) have recruited and used child soldiers. The CJTF is a local self-defense force formed in 2013 to protect communities against attacks by Boko Haram. Nigeria’s Borno State government has provided financial and in-kind support to the CJTF, while Nigeria’s armed forces have worked with the group to coordinate military operations against Boko Haram. The CJTF has reportedly recruited and used children as young as twelve to man checkpoints, conduct patrols, search for and arrest insurgents, guard camps for internally displaced people, and collect intelligence, at times in collaboration with Nigerian armed forces. At its height, an estimated several thousand children were affiliated with the group. There have not been any verified reports of the CJTF recruiting or using children since at least April 2018, though insecurity and travel restrictions have limited the ability of investigators to verify these claims. The Nigerian armed forces have also recruited and used children, including as recently as October 2019. These children are often used in support roles – including to fetch water or firewood, deliver messages, or clean – though there have also been reports of children being interrogated and used as collaborators to identify members of Boko Haram.
In addition, Nigeria continues to suffer from a lack of criminal accountability for child soldier recruitment and use, both among military officials and CJTF members. However, according to the U.S. State Department, Nigeria continues to make significant efforts to eliminate human trafficking, including the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. This includes supporting the implementation of a U.N. Action Plan to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers by the CJTF. Since the plan was signed in 2017, 2,190 children have been separated from the militia group. Additionally, there were no verified reports of child soldier use or recruitment by Nigerian government or government-backed forces between April 2018 and March 2019, resulting in the country being excluded from the 2019 CSPA list – the first and only time Nigeria was not listed since its first appearance in 2015. Nigeria reappeared on the CSPA list in 2020 following verified reports that its military recruited and used children in support roles between April and October 2019.
For more information, see the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. More information on the situation in Nigeria can also be found in the U.N. Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict’s annual report and its country-specific report on Nigeria.