Insecurity: '14,000 Children, Missing in Nigeria', ICRC Says

Insecurity: '14,000 Children, Missing in Nigeria', ICRC Says

  • The persisting insecurity across Nigeria has affected families with many recording several numbers of missing persons
  • The ICRC said members of various families who have disappeared have experienced pain and obstacles that often transcend generations
  • According to the committee, if the right policies are not put in place by the Nigerian government there is the possibility that missing person figure may continue to increase

The whereabouts of 14,000 children across six geo-political zones across Nigeria remain unknown until today, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) has said.

This was disclosed by the head of delegation ICRC Nigeria, Yann Bonzon at a press conference organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared on Tuesday, August 30.

Internally displaced persons, ICRC, missing persons in Nigeria, missing children
The whereabouts of 14,000 Nigerian children still remain unknown. Photo: ICRC
Source: UGC

Bonzon while noting that 64,000 cases of missing people have been reported across the African continent, said that Nigeria has a total of 25,000 missing persons out of the number.

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His words:

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“Sadly, the almost 14,000 children registered does not capture the full scope of this often-neglected and tragic humanitarian issue.
"There is no doubt that there are more children whose fate remains unknown."

Explaining further, Bonzon stated that the major contributing factor to the disappearance of persons in Africa today is the fact that there are over 35 active armed conflicts across the continent.

He said that the conflict has also forced thousands of people including children to cross borders, the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea in search of safety and better life each year.

The ICRC official revealed that while the documented cases of missing persons are on the rise, there is the possibility that the actual figures may be much higher if the right policies are not put in place by the Nigerian government to stop the growing trend.

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Bonzon added:

"Furthermore, I would like to highlight that these figures reveal a very alarming fact that children are particularly more vulnerable than adults to disagreements in Nigeria as the conflicts continues raging the country."

In his address, Patrick Youssef, the regional director of the ICRC in Africa said that members of various families who have disappeared have experienced pain and obstacles that often transcend generations.

Youssef said:

"They are stuck in limbo, unable to move forward or grieve. The search for their loved ones never ends.
""Having the right policies in place can save lives. It is an essential step to protect migrants and families of missing persons. This is a question of humanity and human dignity.

He added that between January and June 2022, the ICRC in collaboration with the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) has assisted in the exchange of 1,250 Red Cross Messages containing family news.

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This approach, Youssef said has helped reunite 31 separated children and unaccompanied minors with their families while 440 phone calls were provided to families to maintain family contact.

He added:

”In addition, families of 377 persons received information about the whereabouts or fate of their loved ones and 146 families of missing persons received psychosocial, economic, legal and administrative support through the Accompaniment Program for Families of the Missing.”

Also, the NHRC's executive secretary, Anthony Ojukwu in his remarks said that the EndSars panel was established by the commission in collaboration with the national economic council in all the states.

He explained that the panel was targeted at taking care of issues of human rights violations, cases of disappeared persons, to deal with issues of extortion, issues of extra-judicial killing, issues of corruption and all kinds of human rights violations.

According to Ojukwu, the panel which serves as an intervention programme is the biggest effort by Nigeria in its history of solving cases of human rights violations.

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His words:

"I have never seen a government set up a panel in about 29 States looking into the issues of human rights violation, it has never happened before.
"The Lagos State panel had paid compensations to victims of human rights. Last November this commission paid about N146m to victims of human rights violations. In the next month, we are going to pay about N300m to victims of human rights violations.
"This is a groundbreaking effort which has never been done in this country before. With the coming on board of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation office with the ICRC, there are better days ahead in dealing with issues of human rights violation."

Finally, Lai Mohammed reveals what is adding 'fire' to Nigeria's growing insecurity, Boko Haram, ISWAP attacks

Fake news and misinformation had been listed as the key contributors to the growing insecurity across Nigeria.

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This was disclosed by the minister of information, culture and tourism, Lai Mohammed on Tuesday, August 23.

According to the minister, it is satisfactory that many CSOs have joined the campaign against fake news and misinformation.

Insecurity: Buhari gives final warning to military over Boko Haram, ISWAP, others

Security forces across the country have been urged to ensure the elimination of terrorists on Nigeria's soil.

The directive was given to all the forces of the Nigerian Military and other security agencies by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the president, it is important for the country that the security personnel do not relent in their effort to fight insurgency.


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