By Bukar Bolori
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has appeal to embassies in the country to assist in influencing their government to assist Nigeria in the procurement of ICT and other needed equipment to check the growing cases of kidnapping in Nigeria.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director, Consular and Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Bolaji Akinremi at the Public Lecture to mark the 2021 International Day of the Disappeared organised by National Human Rights Commission and CLEEN Foundation, said incidences of kidnapping and abduction in the country has become worrisome and needs urgent attention.
He said that a large financial outlay is required to buy the needed ICT and equipment to check against the upsurge in the crime and unfortunate enough Nigeria needs financial assistance from friendly nations to procure all that is needed.
He lamented that the abduction was not limited to Nigerians alone but foreigners are being kidnapped on a daily basis in the country, and “this has become a thing of worries to the country, the consular in the ministry of foreign affairs is being approached daily by embassies to look for their disappeared citizens in the country.”
He added that fighting kidnapping needs much more than the conservative policing as technology is required to track kidnappers to the dens and this is where Nigeria’s friend could come in and take contribution into this as if it were humanitarian.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor who was represented by Commodore Oluwole Akinsanya (Rtd.), said the military was equally worried by the large number of missing persons in Nigeria which takes her atop the list of countries with missing persons in Africa.
He noted that it is not only civilians that are missing but large number of soldiers are missing in action.
He said the military was ready to work with all stakeholders to reduce the number of missing persons and find solutions to the problem.
He added that the missing and disappeared people should not be forgotten, insisting that everything must be done to enable for foreclosure.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu said he was delighted that the nation was using the day to honour those that would otherwise be forgotten and who have no one to speak for them.
He said: “We are also acknowledging the pain of their families and friends who feel the frustration of not knowing what has happened to their loved ones. The pain of having your loved one missing and being unable to ascertain his or her fate or whereabouts, is something that may not be fully understood when one has not experienced it. It can be harrowing experience, heightened and despair.”
He said: This day gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the number of persons who go missing on account of armed conflict or related violence, natural disaster, migration, abduction, or kidnapping, trafficking, accidents, detention, crimes or any other situation.
“Governments around the world are called to address the issue of persons who are unaccounted fir and acknowledge the rights of families to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives.”