Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Security Co-ordination

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 19th June 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 2:30 pm, 19th June 2012

What recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the co-ordination of security efforts in (a) Niger, (b) Nigeria and (c) Africa.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We have regular discussions with EU partners, both in Brussels and across Africa, as part of our co-ordinated strategy on addressing peace and security issues. The discussions cover Niger, Nigeria and wider African issues such as the European Council conclusions on the Sahel.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

The extremist Islamic group Boko Haram is responsible for countless atrocities across Nigeria, including attacks on three churches just last weekend. It then disappears into the Nigeria-Niger border area. The British Government provide security assistances to Nigeria, and I understand that the French do the same for Niger. Will the Minister promise to talk to his counterparts in France to ensure that support is properly co-ordinated, so that that terrible organisation finds it less easy to hide?

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I certainly share the hon. Lady’s condemnation of those appalling attacks, and of the retaliatory attacks by Christians against Muslim communities. We condemn both communities for what happened and urge the Nigerian Government to do what they can to secure calm. The UK has shared its experience on counter-terrorism policy, doctrine and legal frameworks, and we will of course co-ordinate our actions with the French. The President of Niger, President Issoufou, was in London all last week at the invitation of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and we discussed with him a number of counter-terrorism and security issues.

Photo of Margaret Ritchie Margaret Ritchie Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

Given that there is regular and substantive high-level contact between British and Nigerian Ministers, what evaluation have the Government and other EU countries carried out of the Nigerian economy and the impact on it of the security measures that have had to be implemented as a result of terrorism, kidnapping and armed robberies?

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Nigerian economy is growing rapidly, but most of the growth is concentrated in the south, around Lagos, which is expanding to about 15 million people. The tragedy of the communal killings and lack of security in the north is harming growth in a big way, which will lead to a great deal of poverty, youth unemployment and other problems. That is why it is so important that communities are reconciled so that the economy can grow and wealth can be created.