The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, disclosed on Wednesday that 23,000 people have been reported missing in less than a decade due to the insurgency in some parts of the country.
Edu stated this in Abuja at a stakeholders’ engagement with the theme “Where are you now”, to mark the International Day of the Disappeared.
She said that the figure represented half the number of missing people in the whole of Africa.
Edu said that the report of the missing people released by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) was as a result of the insurgency in some parts of the country.
“Today, over 23,000 persons are still missing.
“However, it is likely that this is just a tip of the iceberg as a more efficient mechanism is needed to improve the reporting and forensically trace cases of missing persons,” she said.
The minister said the issue of missing people had become one of the most critical and long-lasting humanitarian consequences of armed conflicts, and as such called for sober reflections.
Edu said that the present administration was committed to curbing the issue, hence the need to facilitate and strengthen the legal frameworks that would substantially address the incidences of disappearance.
On his part, Mr Yann Bonzon, Head of Delegation, ICRC, said that more than 23,000 people, registered by the Family Links Network in Nigeria, never returned home, and remained missing until date.
“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,” Bonzon added.