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Nigeria: Abduction

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL10038, tabled on 9 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what capacity building of Anti-Kidnap Coordination Units took place as a result of the Nigeria Countering Organised Crime and Corruption programme; how was this capacity built; and how the programme continues to be used in achieving its declared objectives of increasing public confidence in Nigeria’s law enforcement capabilities, and reducing harm to hostages and victims

Answered on

18 November 2020

The Countering Organised Crime and Corruption programme in Nigeria provides mentoring and capacity building for units of the Nigerian Police Force to improve border security and anti-kidnap capacity, and respond to organised crime groups in Nigeria. The anti-kidnap capacity building features training for Anti-Kidnap Senior Investigation Officers that meets international standards and embeds human rights compliance including on digital forensics handling to enhance evidence collection and negotiation skills for female officers. This helps anti-kidnap coordination units reduce the harm to kidnap victims by seeking to reduce the longevity of capture and hold those responsible to account. The programme also provides mentoring to officers of the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition in Trafficking of Persons to help them counter the trafficking of women and girls. Kidnappings have increased in recent years in Nigeria so this work remains vital in helping to tackle the threat. Effectively tackling and reducing organised crime in Nigeria, including kidnaps, will improve domestic and international confidence, and support increased trade and investment in Nigeria, improving Nigeria's potential to achieve long-term sustainable economic growth.

This specific programme is designed to help counter criminal, rather than terrorist, activity. The Government has offered and provided separate support in response to the abduction of people by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), including Leah Sharibu. Following the attack on Leah's school in Dapchi, the then Foreign Secretary spoke to the Nigerian Vice President to offer UK assistance in the recovery of the missing girls. The UK Government has repeatedly called for the release of all those abducted by Boko Haram and ISWA, including Leah Sharibu, and remains committed to supporting the Nigerian Government to secure their release. The Prime Minister's former Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief met Leah's mother in February and reaffirmed the UK Government's support to Nigerian Government efforts to tackle terrorism. In March, the Minister for Africa reiterated to Parliament the UK Government's condemnation of all attacks by terrorist groups in North East Nigeria. We will continue to engage with the Government of Nigeria in support of urgent action to secure the return of Leah Sharibu and all abductees.