The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has raised concern over the plight of the families of missing people in Nigeria, saying the number of missing people in Nigeria is the largest caseload in Africa and one of the largest in the world.
Speaking at the meeting for stakeholders involved in the file of missing persons in Nigeria, the head of ICRC Nigeria delegation, Yann Bonzon, said at least 25,000 people are missing in Nigeria and that the vast majority are in the North-east.
He said at least 13,000 families are seeking loved ones and that these are left with anguish of not knowing the fate or whereabouts of their loved ones.
“Conflict and violence, displacement and migration, natural disaster and detainment, can all be cause for someone to go missing. These people left behind wives, husbands, children, parents and siblings. Families of the missing often remain in constant limbo, searching, remembering, and missing their lost loved one.
“Close to 750 children registered by the ICRC have no news of their parents. Thousands of human remains lie unclaimed by any family in morgues across the country. Clarifying the fate and whereabouts of these missing people is a complex and lengthy process. It can take years. Some families have been searching for decades,” he said.
Bonson also revealed that ICRC has completed a need assessment for families of the missing in Nigeria and this helps it to understand the urgent support those families require at the psychosocial, economic, legal and administrative level.
“It also helps us understand their needs regarding the right to be informed about the fate of a missing loved one. We then decided to provide support through what we call an ‘Accompaniment Program” for families of the missing in Yola and Maiduguri,” he said.