Nigeria: Armed Conflict

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 4th May 2016.

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Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Procedure Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential risk of civil war in Nigeria as a result of the policy of the government of Nigeria on Biafra.

Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Procedure Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports he has received of confiscation of land (a) in Biafra and (b) owned by Biafrans by the Nigerian government.

Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Procedure Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports he has received of the potential effects of the grazing bill being considered by the Nigerian National Assembly on land rights in Biafra.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK fully supports the territorial integrity of Nigeria and President Buhari’s commitment to work for a secure and prosperous Nigeria for all Nigerians. We are committed to working with Nigeria to help tackle threats to Nigeria’s security and to address the underlying causes of instability which exist within Nigeria. We do not assess that there is institutionalised persecution of the Igbo or any other peoples by the Nigerian authorities.

We are not aware of any patterns of land confiscation in Nigeria by the Nigerian Government. Nigeria does face the challenge of inter-communal violence between farmers and herdsmen over land, farming rights, grazing routes and access to water. We are aware that the Nigerian legislature is currently debating a bill on grazing routes and reserves for Nigerian herdsmen. Part of that debate focuses on balancing the rights of land owners with the requirements of herder communities.

Through our development assistance the UK supports initiatives to reduce these conflicts and build bridges between communities. We will continue to work with the Nigerian Government, non-governmental organisations and civil society to improve the security situation and human rights for all the people of Nigeria.

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