Baroness Cox Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Nigeria: Overseas Aid

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the situation in Plateau State, Nigeria; and what (1) financial, and (2) technical, assistance they intend to provide (a) to strengthen the rule of law, and (b) to protect freedom of religion or belief, in that region. (Asked 19 October 2020)

Answered 2 November 2020 by Baroness Sugg (Conservative, Life peer)

The Government condemns all incidents of violence in Nigeria, including recent attacks in Plateau State. Intercommunal violence continues to have a devastating effect on local communities across multiple states. We are working with Nigeria to respond to the drivers of conflict, which include disputes over natural resources, competition over land, and population growth. We have provided technical support to the Nigerian Government for the development of the National Livestock Transformation Plan. The Plan aims to promote cattle-rearing in one place, rather than the traditional nomadic practice, to limit competition over land and resources leading to violence. The Plan is currently being implemented in eight Middle Belt states in Nigeria, including Plateau state. The UK is firmly committed to promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world. The British High Commissioner and her team are increasing their engagement with state governments in areas affected by the violence, including Plateau state. The High Commission team have met with Governors; Christian and Muslim faith leaders; Fulani communities; NGOs active in reconciliation, and affected communities including displaced persons. We are also developing a new conflict, security and justice programme, which aims to reduce levels of intercommunal violence through the development of more effective conflict-management systems.

We will continue to encourage the Government of Nigeria to take urgent action to protect those at risk of intercommunal violence, to bring perpetrators to justice and to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence and meet the needs of all communities. To strengthen the rule of law across Nigeria, we have supported a new police bill, engaging the National Assembly and providing technical support to National Assembly members considering the draft legislation. On 17th September President Buhari signed the Police Establishment Act into law. The bill seeks to create a more efficient and effective police force that is based on the principles of accountability and transparency; and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The UK Government is deeply concerned by violence during protests in Lagos and other major cities in Nigeria, which has tragically claimed a number of lives. We will continue to work with the Nigerian Government and international and civil society partners in support of police reform and improvements in the human rights records and accountability of the Nigerian security services.

Original source UIN HL9270

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