A Christian peer has raised concerns that jihadist extremism is driving terrorist attacks, after 200 believers were killed in Plateau State, Nigeria over Christmas.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Alton asked: “Who is being brought to justice for the further 200 killings in Plateau State in Nigeria just two weeks ago?”
In late December 2023, armed bandits attacked Christian majority villages across northern Nigeria, killing around 200 Christians.
Speaking out at the time, President Bola Tinubu, described the attacks as "primitive and cruel" and directed police to track down the perpetrators. Nigerian police arrested three suspects in connection with Christmas attack last week, according to local reports.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Two weeks on, Lord Alton has called on the UK Parliament to ensure justice is served for persecuted Christians in the region.
On Pentecost Sunday 2022, gunmen attacked a Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria, killing at least 40 people. Some Nigerian authorities suspected the insurgent group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) carried out a massacre.
Referencing the Pentecost killings alongside a range of other atrocities Christians face in the country, Lord Alton stated that “jihadist ideology” and “persecution and conflict” is a significant threat to development.
In June 2023, Irish President Michael D Higgins linked the 2022 massacre to the consequences of climate change.
Addressing the UK Minister of State for Climate, Environment and Energy on Thursday, Alton questioned Higgins assumption, labelling it “absurd”.
“That claim was strongly contested here, at a meeting I chaired for the Bishop of Ondo, Jude Arogundade.”
Lord Alton added: “Climate change and cuts to aid certainly impact development, but so does jihadist ideology, and we should not be frightened in saying so.”
In response, Lord Benyon said: “the Pentagon first described climate change as the great risk multiplier, and, with that risk to security, systems of governance collapse. With that comes increased authoritarianism.”