21,600 Nigerians missing in 12 months, says Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), says no fewer than 21,600 Nigerians got missing in 2019.
The ICRC Communication Field Officer in charge of Port Harcourt Delegation, Mrs Sophia Uduma, made the revelation in Enugu on Tuesday while speaking with newsmen.
Uduma said majority of the persons got missing during violence or communal wars, which according to her is prevalent in the Northern part of Nigeria.
The communication officer noted that the cases of persons reported missing were being handled by the ICRC in collaboration with the Nigerian Red Cross Society.
Uduma, however, maintained that 159 minors separated from their families were reunited with their family members while families of 886 missing persons received information about the whereabouts of their loved ones.
“The International Committee of the Red Cross is a non-religious humanitarian organisation that works tirelessly to provide life-saving assistance and sustained development initiative to affected populations,” she said.
On the mandate of the Committee, she emphasised that the organisation worked mostly during wars to assist victims of armed conflicts, encourage humane treatment of detainees, reunite separated family members and promote respect for international humanitarian law.
“In 2019, the ICRC assisted about three quarter of a million persons in Nigeria with food and household items while about 500 were supported to either establish or enhance streams of income to help them build sustainable livelihood,” Uduma said.
On the issue affecting operations, Uduma lamented that “the provision of humanitarian assistance increases threat to the lives of aid workers in the area where the ICRC previously gained access”.
“Humanitarian workers put their lives at risk to reach affected populations and must be respected and allowed to work unhindered if their labour is to have sustained impact,” she said. (NAN)