Baroness Sugg, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL8797):
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they intend to have with the government of Nigeria about (1) the abduction of Ezra Bako, Miracle Saitu Danjuma, Favour Danjuma, Happiness Odoji, and Christiana Madugu, from a school in Kaduna, and (2) Christian churches being attacked in Nigeria; and what assessment they have made of the reasons for those occurrences. (HL8797)
Tabled on: 06 October 2020
The UK Government condemns the reported attack on the village of Damba-Kasaya in Kaduna State and abduction of students and a teacher from the Prince Academy School. Attacks on schools and abductions of children are abhorrent and must stop. We call on the Nigerian Government to establish the full facts of the incident and to take urgent action. Our High Commission is following up urgently with the Nigerian authorities.
We also condemn attacks on places of worship. We are aware that churches have been targeted in incidents of intercommunal violence that predominantly occur in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. We do not currently have sufficient information to establish the motives for the reported attack on the Baptist Church in Damba-Kasaya nor the identity of the perpetrators. We recognise that religious identity is often invoked in conflict, even where the root causes relate to other issues. Religious tensions are frequently stoked by the media and politicians, fueling reprisal attacks. The UK will continue to play a constructive role in calming these tensions and supporting solutions which meet the needs of all affected communities.
In North East Nigeria, churches have frequently been attacked by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa. These groups target both Christians and Muslims who do not subscribe to their extremist views. We are committed to helping Nigeria tackle the terrorist threat. We provide a comprehensive package of security, humanitarian and stabilisation assistance to help tackle the threat and support affected communities. We are firmly committed to standing up for freedom of religion or belief around the world. People should be able to worship freely and in safety regardless of their religion.