Meta launches Amber Alert programme to find abducted Nigerian children
The Nigerian Government in partnership with Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has launched America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response, AMBER Alert, as part of efforts to address cases of missing children in the country.
The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons, NAPTIP, Fatima Waziri-Azi, launched the tool in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
She noted that Nigeria has witnessed an increase in the abduction of children across the country, adding that the Agency has recovered thirteen abducted children and reunited twelve with their families.
The NAPTIP’s Director-General, also stated that to further strengthen the search and recovery of missing children in Nigeria, there was a need to leverage advanced technology for faster and far-reaching results.
Dr Waziri-Azi said that “If COVID has taught us anything, it is the reinforcement of the need for digital channels of communication and this has led to a massive digital transformation. And re-strategizing our modus operandi is something that we must do, if we must scale our output.”
“Which is why leveraging on Meta’s advanced technology will assist in locating and re-uniting abducted children with their families on a faster and larger scale than what we currently have going.”
Meta’s Director, Trust and Safety, Emily Vacher, stated that the Amber Alert strengthens the sharing of information through Meta, ensuring that the right persons get the right information at the right time for the search and recovery of a missing child.
Vacher, therefore, called on the public to respond to any missing child alert received on their Meta and Instagram accounts saying that the alert meant that they are within the search area.
Meta’s Director, Trust and Safety also revealed that Nigeria is the second country in Africa and the twenty-ninth in the world to embrace the use of the AMBER Alert.
Responding to questions on the availability of the Alert on all Meta applications, Meta’s Head of Public Policy, Anglophone West Africa, Adaora Ikenze noted that all users of Meta will get notifications as long as they have access to their accounts.
The AMBER Alert, a minor-specific tool deployed in the search of persons abducted from age zero to eighteen, will be distributed in Nigeria through the social media platforms of Meta and Instagram to alert the public of missing children within their neighbourhood.