A call has been made for proper record and accountability for missing persons, missing in action persons and enforced disappearance following the continuous rise in insecurity in Nigeria.
Dr. Chris Kwaja, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State has disclosed that against the backdrop of the mass deaths and mass displacements of both the civilian population and security personnel as a consequence of insurgency in the north east region of the country, as well as the current state of violence perpetuated by criminal armed groups, the Nigerian government and other relevant institutions (State and non-state), should work towards addressing the issue of missing persons and missing in action persons.
Dr Kwaja who currently represents Africa on the United Nations Working Group on Mercenaries said missing persons and missing in action persons is a disturbing phenomenon that the Nigerian government has a duty to investigate thoroughly.
He hinted that many families are currently in a state of despair and trauma arising from the fact that they do not have any idea regarding the whereabout of their loved ones.
He further stressed that it is pertinent that a national register be opened across all the states and local governments, with a view to collating the relevant information concerning the identity of persons currently missing.
Dr. Kwaja posited that as government has a duty to protect and provide for its citizens, it also has a duty to account for the whereabout of its citizens.
Dr Kwaja also drew attention to the fact that the spate of insecurity in the Lake Chad and Sahel regions, which has led to huge humanitarian crisis for both West and Central Africa are also confronted with the challenge of accountability for missing persons, which requires a robust and proactive response from national, Supra-national and other actors with interest on such matters.