In an announcement made on Wednesday, Dr. Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, revealed that nearly 23,000 individuals have been reported missing within a span of less than ten years, primarily due to the insurgency affecting various regions of Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja during a stakeholders’ gathering commemorating the International Day of the Disappeared, Edu shared that this figure constitutes approximately half of the total count of missing persons across the entire African continent.
Edu pointed out that the data on missing persons, released by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), directly correlates to the insurgency-related turmoil in specific areas of Nigeria.
“At present, the count of missing persons stands at over 23,000,” Edu stated. She also cautioned that this number might merely scratch the surface, as there’s an urgent need for a more effective system to enhance reporting and meticulously track cases of individuals who have gone missing.
Edu emphasized that the matter of missing persons has evolved into one of the most pressing and enduring humanitarian repercussions stemming from armed conflicts. She urged for contemplative consideration of this issue.
Highlighting the administration’s dedication to tackling this problem, Edu stressed the importance of streamlining and reinforcing legal frameworks aimed at significantly addressing instances of disappearance.
Yann Bonzon, Head of Delegation at ICRC, added his perspective, noting that more than 23,000 people documented by the Family Links Network in Nigeria are still absent and unaccounted for, even to this day. He underscored that the actual number of missing individuals might be considerably higher, positioning Nigeria as the country with the highest count of missing persons across the continent.