Despite reiterating support for freedom of religion or belief the UK Africa Minister declines to raise the demolition of a church in Kaduna with the Nigerian Government.

Jul 11, 2022 | News

Vicky Ford MP
Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean
King Charles Street London
Tel: 0207 008 5000
11 July 2022

The Lord Alton House of Commons London

Dear Lord Alton,

Thank you for e-mail of 8 June to Lord Ahmad, enclosing correspondence from the Justice for Jos project, about the demolition of a church at Kaduna State University. I am responding as the Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

We understand that the demolition of this church relates to a dispute over planning permission, and is therefore not a matter for the UK Government.

The correspondence alleges violations of the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Kaduna.

The UK Government is unwavering in its support for the right to adopt a religion or belief, to practice it freely and to share it. I would like to reassure… that we will continue to make clear to the Nigerian authorities at the highest levels the importance of protecting human rights for all, including the right to freedom of religion or belief.

Our High Commissioner and her team in Nigeria regularly engage with state governments, faith leaders and NGOs on this important matter.

As you may be aware, the UK Government hosted an International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief on 5 and 6 July 2022, which brought together parliamentarians, civil society and faith and belief representatives to urge greater global action on this important topic.

Finally, I would like to reiterate my condolences following the appalling attack on St Francis Xavier Church in Owo, Ondo State on 5 June.

I publicly expressed the UK Government’s condemnation in response to an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on 6 June, and I am aware that my noble friend, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, did the same in the House of Lords.

We extend our condolences to those affected by the attack, and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice in line with the law.

Thank you again for writing. I hope Mr Ogebe finds this response helpful. Yours sincerely,
Vicky Ford MP
Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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