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Nigeria: Violence

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL7628, tabled on 2 September 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Igbo Councillors and MPs in the UK group Report on Fulani Herdsmen killing Igbos and Christians in South East Nigeria, published in July, which cites evidence of attacks against Christians and Igbo people in Nigeria’s south-eastern states and claims that 350 Igbo villages are occupied by Fulani herders and Shuwa Arab mercenaries.

Answered on

17 September 2020

The UK Government condemns all incidents of intercommunal violence in Nigeria. While diverse communities live together peacefully across much of Nigeria, the country has experienced episodes of serious intercommunal violence, including in south-eastern states. We have made clear to the Nigerian authorities at the highest levels the importance of protecting civilians, including ethnic and religious minorities, and human rights for all.

The UK Government's assessment remains that religion is not the principal driver of most incidents of intercommunal violence in Nigeria. The underlying drivers of conflict are complex, and frequently relate to competition over resources and criminality. In February, we hosted a conference on 'Fostering Social Cohesion in Nigeria'. Attendees included representatives from civil society, faith and political leaders from across Nigeria, representatives from the Nigerian Government and UK parliamentarians. The discussion focused on the complex causes of conflict and explored solutions: a full report from the conference has been published and can be viewed on the Wilton Park website.

The UK Government is working with Nigeria to respond to the drivers of conflict. We are providing 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 and we are encouraging its adoption in other states, including south-eastern states.

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 and meet the needs of all communities.