Freedom of Religion and Belief in Nigeria — [Ian Paisley in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:23 am on 6 February 2024.

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Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 10:23, 6 February 2024

The focus is currently on training police and working with local communities, but I know that the defence partnership dialogue will consider exactly that. I am happy to give the hon. Gentleman a commitment that I will pass on that suggestion to my Ministry of Defence colleague.

The security work builds on our work as a partner in the multinational joint taskforce, which has seized weapons intended for use against civilians in Nigeria. However, the ongoing work is hugely important, because disrupting the flow of weapons is a critical security factor. The UK Government will continue to work closely with the Nigerian authorities to address the deeply troubling violence against those who are simply trying to follow their faith, including by raising faith-based violence and wider insecurity at the highest levels and with country-based partners and the wider international community to promote a more secure and stable Nigeria in which everyone is free to follow their faith or belief without fear of persecution or violence.

Once again, I thank hon. Members for this debate. I am grateful that my friend the hon. Member for Strangford quoted from Galatians 6:9:

“Let us not become weary in doing good”.

He is certainly not weary, and our team in Nigeria is not weary. Despite the many challenges and the huge scale of the threat, we are confident that our actions have a positive impact. I am grateful to have laid out this morning some of the actions that we are taking, but a great deal of work is ahead of us.