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FG to Create Database for Missing Nigerians

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Database would be created for over 25,000 missing Nigerians to keep records.

The Nigerian government has affirmed that it is working on creating a database to record information about citizens who have gone missing as a result of instances such as armed conflict and other forms of national security threats. Because families of the missing persons have persisted in seeking answers from the government concerning the whereabouts of their loved ones. This information was disclosed at a meeting of stakeholders in charge of the collation of missing persons in Nigeria organized by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Disaster Management, and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Communicating the government plans to identify such people within the country, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwakama, the Director of the Human Rights Institute who was representing Tony Ojukwu, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Executive Secretary, said that they are searching inward and at the NHRC, and that they have consistently played an important role in this matter because when someone talks concerning missing persons, there are humanitarian and human rights issues, and there is also some overlap between.

Cases of missing persons have increased, and it requires a database.

Even before the problem of missing persons surfaced in Nigeria, she added, the NHRC had received instances or complaints of people who had gone missing while in the detention of state agents like the military, the police, and others. This is called enforced disappearance, and the NHRC has always dealt with it in accordance with human rights standards. Conflicts and other problems started to evolve more frequently as time went on. When discussing current events, it is no longer limited to the Northeast. It is taking place all around the nation now.

She remarked that among the issues it raises is the dilemma of displacement, the problem of family separation, and the problem of individuals unaccounted for and that no responsible administration would ignore this problem. Because of this, everyone there representing whatever agency has reason to be concerned. She is hopeful that they will soon realize the agencies and responsibilities they can play in making this a reality, to the point where Nigeria will have a comprehensive database and citizens can confidently report the number of missing persons within a given time frame.

People illegally migrating also contributes to the issue.

Similarly, Hajiya Sadiya Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, said that many Nigerians, which include children, risk their lives each year by migrating illegally over the border, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert in quest of stability and a better way of life. Nasir Sani Gwarzo, the ministry’s permanent secretary, who spoke on Farouk’s behalf, said that the current figures show that among the 64,000 missing people throughout Africa, Nigeria is taking over 25,000 missing persons, with around 14,000 children.

No official registry exists for missing people in Nigeria. Hence there has yet to be any credible national data available. The humanitarian fallout from disappearances needs to be dealt with since no national framework or standard operating procedure (SOP) exists. As a result, it is obvious why the government and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development are working to address this devastating but frequently overlooked social and humanitarian problem. Representatives from the Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigeria Correctional Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Police are among the stakeholders involved in missing person reports in Nigeria.

About 13,000 families in Nigeria are searching for the missing.

Furthermore, Yann Bonzon, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Nigeria, pointed out that people were grieving from not knowing what had become of their loved ones. He also stated that nearly 25,000 individuals had gone missing in the country and that this number is likely to increase over time. He said every missing person has a family, most of which are related to the conflict in the Northeast. The Nigerian Red Cross Society and the ICRC have recorded these instances. In light of this fact, about 13,000 households in Nigeria are searching for loved ones who have gone missing.

Related Link

NHRC: Website

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