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Nigeria: Christianity

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL7580, tabled on 8 May 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the attacks (1) targeted at Christian communities in Nigeria, and (2) that have occurred in the north east state of Adamawa; and what assessment they have made of reports that the Nigerian airforce were responsible for one attack and that there was military collusion in others.

Answered on

21 May 2018

Recent violence between farmers and pastoralists across multiple states in Nigeria has had a devastating impact. Our assessment is that the root causes of violence between farmers and pastoralists are disputes over land, farming rights, grazing routes and access to water, rather than religious motives alone. It is clear that retaliation attacks by both herdsmen and farmers risk escalating the violence. We welcome President Buhari's engagement on this issue. It is imperative that the Nigerian government works with the affected populations to develop a solution that meets the needs of all the communities affected.

We are aware of allegations that the Nigerian Air Force launched airstrikes against farming villages in Adamawa State last December. The formal investigation by the Nigerian Authorities concluded that the strikes were intended to prevent herdsmen from attacking farming villages. We have seen no evidence of collusion by the Nigerian Armed Forces in attacks against farming communities in Adamawa State. It is essential that all action taken by the Nigerian Armed Forces and security services are in accordance with International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and all incidents are fully investigated.