10 Functions Of Red Cross Society In Nigeria You Need To Know

functions of red cross society in Nigeria
functions of red cross society in Nigeria

This blog post talks about the functions of Red Cross Society in Nigeria.

Do you want to know what the Red Cross does in Nigeria, its roles and functions?

Then carry on with this post because we’re going to tell you what you need to know about the functions of the Red Cross Society in Nigeria.

How Did The Red Cross Start?

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, as it was called, was an idea from Henry Dunant.

Now, Henry Dunant was a Swiss businessman.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement officially was kicked off in 1863.

What happened was that there was a war called the Battle of Solferino, which occured in 1859.

During this war, a lot of people died as a result of not getting the care they needed. It was terrible.

After that war, Henry Dunant started talking about the need for national relief societies to be created in different countries, made up of volunteers who were trained during times of peace so that they could provide help during war time.

They are not partisan. They don’t belong to any camp. They are just neutral parties that provide help to people that are affected during war.

That is how the Red Cross began in 1863.

Henry Dunant

Henry Dunant also pushed that countries should have an agreement, international agreements that would make it possible for people that were wounded on the battlefield to get access to medical care.

Eventually this push culminated in the Geneva Convention, which was adopted in 1864.

So, in a nutshell, this is how the Red Cross came into being.

Different countries now began to adopt their own Red Cross societies.

For instance, the UK the Red Cross came into being in 1905. It was previously called the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War.

Brief History of Red Cross Society in Nigeria.

Red Cross activities actually started in Nigeria as far back as 1917.

After the First World War, a play was staged in Lagos in order to raise some money for the Red Cross to provide relief for soldiers coming back from that World War.

The Nigerian branch of the British Red Cross was officially opened up in 1951 in Lagos.This was before Nigeria gained her Independence from Britain. So from there, it started spreading throughout the country.

In August 1960, Nigerian Red Cross Act was passed as well as the General Conventions Act. This now gave the Red Cross Society the legal backing to function in Nigeria.

Nigeria became the 86th member nation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Committee in September 1961.

The Nigerian Red Cross Society has its national headquarters at Abuja, Plots 589, T.O.S. Benson Crescent off Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Street, Utako District, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Their website address is here.

They also have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube media accounts

And now we move straight into the functions of the Red Cross in Nigeria.

10 Functions of Red Cross Society in Nigeria

1) To train personnel and maintain a permanent organization to relieve sickness, suffering and distress, especially the casualties of war, armed conflict and disaster.

Like we talked about earlier, the original person that founded Red Cross did so because of the idea of providing help to people that are wounded during times of conflict.

That was how the Red Cross came about.

So they train people as well as volunteers.

The Red Cross has a large number of volunteers.

They also keep calling for volunteers.

So it’s more like a permanent organization. Since its creation or since they came in, they have not closed.

They are always open, during sickness or in sufferings, during distress, war and conflict.

Nigeria has a lot of places that are in conflict.

For instance, the some of the northern states that have been having issues as a result of insurgency across act is this these are one of the places that Red Cross works in.

They also work during disasters

The Red Cross Society is quite active during disasters such as flood disasters and other disasters that come in from time to time.

For instance, we had floods in Nigeria in 2022.

2) When engaged in relief work, to supplement official services where they exist, and in particular to be prepared to supply trained auxiliaries for the medical services of the armed forces, for other medical and nursing services to provide additional stores, special equipments and extra comforts where needed, and to be ready to take the initiative where an official service does not exist or is limited.

So they engage in relief medical services and they also supplement that of the official services.

Sometimes the Red Cross sends personnel in order to augment the services of the armed forces.

They can send medical and nursing personnel.

They can also take the initiative in some places where some services do not exist.

They supply personnel to help beef up, existing medical services in hard hit areas.

3) To be ready in any emergency to organize relief services and supply personnel, stores and equipment as a temporary measure until the official services are ready to take over or the need ceases to exist and to cooperate with other organizations, if necessary, in organizing such services.

So during emergencies, they can step in immediately and start providing some of these medical services to people in need while the government or the official services are being awaited.

In this, they are more like a temporary measure; they stand in while the people or the government of the country that is affected by such disasters now put themselves together in order to bring out a response.

They also work together with these people or government when they fully take over, to cater for the sick people.

4) Generally to act as a channel through which the public may express their sympathy for the sick and suffering.

It is important to note that the Red Cross does not replace the constitutional health related functions of the government of the country in which they operste.

Sometimes, the Red Cross Society can mobilize for support from members of the public and act as an avenue through which the public can reach out and be of help to sick and suffering people.

So when we talk about this, you look at some services like blood donation. The Red Cross has been one of the champions of voluntary blood donation.

There are, however, limits to their responsibilities. The Red Cross Society does not substitute for medical services or whatever services that the government is supposed to provide to its citizens. They are just there to help.

5) To undertake work in accordance with the principles of the movement for the improvement of health and prevention of disease, including courses of instruction, open to the public.

They helping people improve their health and prevent diseases.

They can also organize trainings that will help the public to beef up one or more areas of knowledge about their health.

6) To promote and encourage the enrollment of adults and youth members in the work of the Society.

Like we mentioned earlier, the Red Cross works with a lot of volunteers.

So from time to time they call for volunteers and people come in so that they can be able to work.

They encourage both adults and young people to join as everybody has a part to play or contribute to a healthy society, irrespective of age.

7) To encourage, coordinate and support the work of the branches, divisions and subsidiary units in carrying out the functions of the Society

Red Cross has branches in different parts of the country as well as in different parts of the world.

There is coordination and synchrony between all these branches; they exchange information and also work together from time to time.

There may be a need to exchange ideas

To bring to the knowledge of the people of Nigeria the provisions of the international humanitarian law.

The Red Cross Society helps people to be aware of their rights by providing them the appropriate information

9) To cooperate with the governments to ensure respect and protection of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Emblems.

The Red Cross has numerous people it works with.It also ensures that these people are respected.

They put in a lot of sacrifice to do a lot of things, so ensure that the government respects their staff and treats them as they should and they are not victimised or persecuted or acted against or by the government and its agencies.

10) To educate and promote the fundamental principles and ideals of the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement among the population.

They promote the principles and ideals of the Red Cross.

Fundamental Principles Of The Red Cross Society In Nigeria.

1) Humanity

Yeah. So that helps to protect life and health and to ensure that every human being is respected. So the Red Cross also promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and peace among people.

2) Impartiality

They do not discriminate based on nation, race, religion, politics and things like that.

3) Neutrality

Members of the Red Cross are not supposed to take sides during hostilities.

They are not supposed to cling to one side of a political debate. They are to be neutral at all times.

This will enable them to discharge their duties without fear or favor and but for independence.

The Red Cross is independent, meaning that they work independent of the authorities.

As much as they respect the laws of the country, note that they are an independent body and they cannot be controlled by governments or individuals.

5) Voluntary service

The activities or the functions of the Red Cross are voluntary.

6) Unity

In any country there’s just one Red Cross no matter how many states or divisions within the country.

They are under one coordination.

The headquarter of the Red Cross in Nigeria is at Abuja. This is the central command as far as Nigeria is concerned.

7) Universality

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements that is in every every society, have equal status and have equal responsibilities and duties.

The same set of functions that the Red Cross performs in Nigeria is the same job description that the Red Cross performs in USA, UK, Bangladesh, for instance.


The Red Cross has enormous responsibilities to perform both during peace time and in times of war.

Have you come in contact with the Red Cross in your locality? Let’s hear your thoughts below.


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