According to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, the federal government has revealed that 23,000 Nigerians have been reported missing in less than a decade.
The Minister made this disclosure during a stakeholders’ engagement in Abuja to mark the International Day of the Disappeared.
She attributed the disappearance of these individuals to the ongoing insurgency in certain parts of the country.
The figures were released by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Nigerian Red Cross Society.
“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.