To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, in the context of the killing of church worshippers in the town of Owo, Ondo State on 5 June, what discussions she has had with the Nigerian authorities on steps they are taking to prevent further similar incidents in (a) the Christian-majority south and (b) other areas of Nigeria.
4 July 2022
Increasing insecurity across Nigeria is having a devastating impact on affected communities. I [the Minister for Africa] publicly condemned the attack on a church in Owo, Ondo State, stressing the importance of those responsible being brought to justice. All religious communities should be able to practise their faith without fear. It is clear that religious identity can be a factor in incidents of violence in Nigeria. Both Christian and Muslim communities have been victims of violence. The root causes of violence are complex, and in the case of intercommunal violence, frequently relate to competition over resources, historical grievances and criminality.
I [the Minister for Africa] regularly discuss insecurity in Nigeria with the Nigerian authorities, and we are committed to working with Nigeria to help them respond. At the first dialogue of our Security and Defence partnership in February, we agreed to work together to respond to security challenges across the country, including serious and organised crime, kidnaps and terrorism. The UK Government will continue to encourage the Nigerian Government to take urgent action to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence, whilst also ensuring Freedom of Religion or Belief for all.