Nigeria: Religious Freedom

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered at on 7 February 2023.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) reports of the kidnapping of 53 Christians in Kaduna State Nigeria on Christmas Day, (2) the murder of Fr Isaac Azekpili Achi in Kafin Korothe on 15 January, and (3) the sentencing to 24 years imprisonment of Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria; whether they have made representations to the government of Nigeria on these cases; and, if so, what response they received.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We condemn all violence across Nigeria, including the recent kidnapping in Kaduna state and the murder of Fr. Isaac Achi in Niger state. Events such as these are occurring across Nigeria as conflict and insecurity rises. The Minister of State for Africa & Development recently discussed this challenge with some of Nigeria's leading presidential candidates and with the Governor of Kaduna. The UK is supporting Nigeria to tackle this issue, and fulfil its constitutional commitment to Freedom of Religion or Belief, by strengthening military capabilities, human rights compliance, policing, and anti-kidnap capacity through our UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership. The UK Government continues to raise Mr Bala's case with the Nigerian authorities, most recently with the Kano State Government on 19 January.

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