Government Reports: Over 23,000 Individuals Missing in Nigeria Within a Decade 
Home News Government Reports: Over 23,000 Individuals Missing in Nigeria Within a Decade 
News - August 31, 2023

Government Reports: Over 23,000 Individuals Missing in Nigeria Within a Decade 

Dr. Betta Edu, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, during a stakeholder engagement event in Abuja themed “Where are you now,” held to observe the International Day of the Disappeared, revealed that over the course of less than a decade, the insurgency in certain parts Nigeria has led to several reported cases of missing individuals amounting to about 23,000 people.

She mentioned that this number represents half of all the missing people in Africa. Edu explained that the report about the missing people, which was put together by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), happened because of the insurgency in some parts of the country.

She said “Today, over 23,000 persons are still missing. However, it is likely that this is just the tip of the iceberg as a more efficient mechanism is needed to improve the reporting and forensically trace cases of missing persons.”

The minister mentioned that the problem of missing individuals had turned into one of the most serious and enduring human hardships caused by armed conflicts. She emphasized the importance of thoughtful contemplation on this matter.

Dr. Edu pointed out that the current government was dedicated to tackling this problem. Therefore, there was a push to make the necessary legal rules stronger and more effective in dealing with cases of people going missing.

Mr. Yann Bonzon, leading the ICRC delegation, noted that over 23,000 individuals, documented by the Family Links Network in Nigeria, had not come back home and were still unaccounted for. 

He said “The actual number of missing persons is likely to be much higher, with Nigeria having more missing people than any other country on the continent. Until a national mechanism is created, immediate steps must be taken by the Nigerian government to prevent disappearances, prevent the disruption of family links, and maintain links between separated family members. It will also help to address proper management of the dead.” 

Bonzon emphasized that the ICRC would persist in closely collaborating with the government and relevant stakeholders to prevent disappearances. This collaborative effort aims to encourage and endorse the adoption of international best practices. 

Moreover, he outlined the ICRC’s intention to provide support to the Nigerian authorities in establishing sustainable capacities and resources for the creation of a national mechanism dedicated to assisting missing individuals and their families.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) documented that the group raised awareness by embarking on a walk from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to the National Human Rights Commission.

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