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Baroness Cox talks persecution of Christians in Nigeria

May 9th, 2019

Baroness Cox talks persecution of Christians in Nigeria

On Thursday 9th May, Baroness Cox (crossbench) asked the British Government to acknowledge that the scale and asymmetry of attacks against Christians in Nigeria has an ideological basis. Since the Fulani insurgency began, thousands of Christians have been targeted and killed. On her most recent visit to the Middle-Belt Region, Baroness Cox collected first-hand evidence and testimonies from survivors to bring the killings to the attention of the mainstream media, which continues to characterise the attacks as ethnic riots.

Read below for a series of written questions submitted by Baroness Cox on the persecution of Christians in Nigeria: 

Baroness Cox, Crossbench:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Islamist dimension to Fulani attacks against Christians in northern and central Nigeria.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State:

We are concerned about growing levels of intercommunal violence between farming and herder communities in Nigeria, and regularly raise these concerns the Nigerian Government at the highest levels. The Foreign Secretary met with Nigerian faith leaders, both Muslim and Christian during his recent visit to Nigeria, to discuss how the UK can support their work to promote interfaith relationships and long-term peace. Our assessment is that religious identity is a factor but the root causes are highly complex and include disputes over land, farming rights, the impact of climate change, grazing routes and access to water. Our High Commission in Abuja is engaging closely with international partners, the Nigerian Government, state governments and the National Economic Council to develop measures, which address the underlying causes of the conflict, including the recently-announced bi-partisan National Livestock Transformation Plan.

Baroness Cox, Crossbench:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether representatives from the UK High Commission in Abuja have visited Christian farming communities in northern and central Nigeria attacked by Muslim Fulani herders; and if so, what were their findings.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State:

Officials from the British High Commission in Abuja frequently visit states across Nigeria and engage with communities of all faiths. A High Commission team including officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London recently visited Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Benue and Taraba States to assess the situation on the ground. The findings reinforced our assessment of the complexity of these conflicts, which can be found in disputes over land, farming rights, the impact of climate change, grazing routes and access to water. We continue to urge the Nigerian Government to develop a clear strategy to address the underlying causes, as well as developing options for how the UKcould further support dialogue and peacebuilding efforts. The Foreign Secretary met with Nigerian faith leaders, both Muslim and Christian during his recent visit to Nigeria, to discuss how the UK can support their work to promote interfaith relationships and long-term peace.


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