Insurgency: 23,000 Nigerians declared missing in 10 years – Betta Edu

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The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, said on Wednesday at least 23,000 people had been reported missing due to the insurgency in some parts of Nigeria in the last 10 years.

Edu, who disclosed this at a stakeholders’ engagement to mark the International Day of the Disappeared held in Abuja, said the figure represented half the number of missing people in the whole of Africa.

She said the report of the missing people released by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) was a result of the insurgency in the Northern part of the country.

The minister said: “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 noted that the issue of missing people had become one of the most critical and long-lasting consequences of armed conflicts across the world.

Edu noted that the present administration was committed to curbing the problem, hence the need to strengthen the legal frameworks that would substantially address the incidences of disappearance.

READ ALSO: Betty Edu resumes work, says Tinubu’s govt will lift 133m Nigerians out of poverty

On his part, the Head of Delegation, ICRC, Mr. Yann Bonzon, said more than 23,000 people registered by the Family Links Network in Nigeria never returned home and remained missing to date.

He stressed that the number did not convey the true extent of the problem.

“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, to prevent the disruption of family links, and maintain links between separated family members.

“It will also help to address proper management of the dead,” the ICRC official added.

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