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Nigeria urged to strengthen policies on missing persons – ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC has called on the Federal Government to create a national mechanism to address the issues of missing persons.

The Head of Delegation for ICRC in Nigeria Mr. Yann Bonzon made the call in Abuja at an event to mark the 2022 International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance in collaboration with the  Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster, Management and Social Development and the National Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Yann Bonzon said Nigeria has the largest number of missing persons registered by ICRC in Africa, he, emphasised that the Federal Government needs to improve beyond its status quo.

He said “we need immediate action that matches the scale and urgency of this humanitarian tragedy, there are important initiatives taking place in Nigeria today to tackle the issue of the missing but carrying these initiatives into the future requires going beyond the status quo We need to work closely and gather around bold solutions”,

Bonzon added “Until a national mechanism is created, this includes taking measures to ensure proper management of the dead and improving national frameworks in line with existing obligations under international law. The ICRC calls on the Nigerian authorities to domesticate the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance that Nigeria acceded to in 2009”

He gave the assurance that ICRC would continue to support Nigeria to prevent disappearances by encouraging and promoting the adoption of international best practices.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster, Management and Social Development Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq represented by the Permanet Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Nasir Gwarzo gave an assurance that the necessary action would be taken to address the situation, that data base has been developed for missing persons.

Also, the Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Tony Ojukwu explained that
in line with the Commission’s mandate it would take initiates to collaborate with government in complying with human rights obligations as families had the right to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives.

The theme for this International Day for the Disappeared is ” Missing but not Forgotten”

Reporting by Hadiza Abulrahman, Editing by Omotola Oguneye