Abuja (ICRC) - Nearly 22,000 Nigerians have been reported as missing to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during a decade of conflict in northeast Nigeria, the highest number of missing persons registered with the ICRC in any country.
Nearly 60 percent were minors at the time they went missing, meaning thousands of parents don’t know where their children are and if they are alive or dead.
“Every parent’s worst nightmare is not knowing where their child is. This is the tragic reality for thousands of Nigerian parents, leaving them with the anguish of a constant search. People have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and more needs to be done to prevent families from being separated in the first place,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer today at the end of his five-day visit to the country.
During his time in Nigeria, Maurer met with Nigerian President Buhari and high-level government, civil society and business leaders and spoke with families who have been affected by conflict in Maiduguri and Monguno, many of whom have missing relatives.
Families in northeast Nigeria are often separated while fleeing attacks. Others have had loved ones abducted or detained and do not know their whereabouts. The ICRC works with the Nigeria Red Cross and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region to trace missing people by showing photographs, calling out names, and going door-to-door in camps and communities.