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World News

Catholic charity calls on UK to act as Christian killings in Nigeria escalate

by Heather Preston

Aid to the Church in Need has called on the UK government to take action, following a fresh wave of attacks on Christians in Nigeria and an apparent lack of accountability.

The Catholic charity presented a report to the UK Parliament yesterday outlined its concerns over the escalating violence towards believers and the alleged inaction to bring perpetrators to justice.

According to local reports, 29 Christians were killed following a three-day attack by Fulani terrorists in the Diocese of Pankshin, Plateau state earlier this month. On Easter Monday Fulani’s killed another ten Christians in the diocese, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child. More than 300 Christians died in a four-day attack on local villages over Christmas.

Daniel Beurthe, Public and Parliamentary Affairs Officer for ACN told Premier the current situation in Nigeria is dire:

“This has been an ongoing situation for many years and something that's getting worse. This stretches right back through to 2009, when we saw the emergence of Boko Haram in the northeast of Nigeria. We’re seeing an escalation in violence and escalation in the brutality of the acts committed as well.”

Northeast Nigeria's conflict with Islamist insurgencies had killed nearly 350,000, according to 2020 figures from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

ACN partners in Nigeria claim local authorities have displayed “complete inaction” in bringing culprits to justice and are reluctant and unable to tackle the situation.

In a parliamentary meeting, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Freedom of Religion or Belief, ACN joined Christian charities Open Doors, CSW and ADF International in “spotlighting” their concerns and have made a series of recommendations to the UK Government.

Beurthe tells Premier what first steps Parliament can take: “It can acknowledge the religious dimension of these attacks and require an annual report into the state of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in Nigeria from the UK High Commission in the country.”

The charity has also called for increased support for FoRB programmes and research in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Middle Belt has over 3 million internally displaced persons (IDP) as a result of armed conflict and the humanitarian crisis there. Beurthe says the UK Government should “should take steps to increase the support provided to individuals housed in official or unofficial IDP camps.”

He added: “The UK should urge the Nigerian Government to allow independent bodies to investigate claims of atrocities and support an international fact-finding commission to investigate Nigeria’s security crisis and its implications for religious minorities.”


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