Nigeria – an unfolding genocide? Important new report, dedicated to Leah Sharibu, launched today at Westminster.Leah’s mother, Rebecca, tells Parliamentarians, don’t grow weary or tired of helping us ; the captivity and killing continues; hold President Buhari to account. Parliamentary Questions Tabled to the Government by Baroness Cox and Lord Alton. Read Christina Lamb in The Sunday Times and Rowan Williams in The Independent


200615 – Nigeria – Unfolding Genocide – Report of the APPG for FoRB

Nigeria Report Launch picture

Nigeria – an unfolding genocide? Important new report, dedicated to Leah Sharibu, launched today at Westminster.

Leah’s mother, Rebecca, tells Parliamentarians, don’t grow weary or tired of helping us – the captivity and killing continues – hold President Buhari to account.”

BBC World News (15 June 2020)

WATCH: Parliamentary report of ‘brutal killings’ in central Nigeria

https://www.facebook.com/HumanitarianAidReliefTrust/posts/10158280505076427

The Independent (15 June 2020)

Rowan Williams: The violence in Nigeria could end in genocide – both Christian and Muslim populations need help now

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nigeria-boko-haram-isis-violence-christian-muslim-coronavirus-a9566451.html

 

The Telegraph (15 June 2020)

Baroness Cox: We cannot ignore the chilling signs of a new genocide in Africa

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/15/cannot-ignore-chilling-signs-new-genocide-africa/ and attached

 

Sunday Times (14 June 2020) 

Christina Lamb: Call to cut aid to Nigeria over Boko Haram’s bloody campaign against Christians

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/call-to-cut-aid-to-nigeria-over-boko-harams-bloody-campaign-against-christians-c73kvrwcg and attached

 

Sunday Express (14 June 2020)

Nigeria at risk of ‘Rwandan-style genocide’

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1295608/nigeria-news-rwanda-genocide-boko-haram-isis-islamic-state

The Guardian Nigeria (17 June 2020)

UK parliamentarian groups raise concern over genocide in Nigeria

https://guardian.ng/news/uk-parliamentarian-groups-raise-concern-over-genocide-in-nigeria/

FORBES June 15

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2020/06/15/is-genocide-happening-in-nigeria-as-the-world-turns-a-blind-eye/#2ee2e6de5405

NIGERIA: UNFOLDING GENOCIDE? NEW APPG REPORT LAUNCHED

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief has launched a new report in Westminster today entitledNigeria – Unfolding Genocide?

The report launch featured speeches from the Chair of the APPG, Jim Shannon MP, Co-Chair Baroness Cox, and Rebecca Sharibu, the mother of Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped by Boko Haram two years ago and has yet to be released.

BACKGROUND

APPG members have been alarmed by the dramatic and escalating violence in Nigeria characterised as the farmer-herder conflict. This violence has manifested along ideological lines, as the herders are predominantly ethnic Fulani Muslims and the farmers are predominantly Christians. There has been significant debate about what factors are driving and exacerbating this crisis. Therefore the APPG launched a parliamentary inquiry to help develop a nuanced understanding of the drivers of violence and increase parliamentary, public and Governmental interest in the issue. The report is the result of that inquiry.

IMPACT

The APPG’s inquiry found that Nigerian Christians are experiencing devastating violence, with attacks by armed groups of Islamist Fulani herders resulting in the killing, maiming, dispossession and eviction of thousands. The exact death toll is unknown. However, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust quote reliable reports that over 1,000 Christians were killed between January-November 2019, in addition to the estimated 6,000+ deaths since 2015.

International Crisis Group estimate that over 300,000 people have been displaced and that the violence has claimed the lives of six times more people than the conflict with Boko Haram. Violence by herders, and periodic retaliatory violence, is costing the Nigerian economy £10.5 billion per year.

CAUSES

The report finds that a key factor driving this violence is the impact of the growing power and influence of Islamist extremism across the Sahel, which drives some militant Fulani herders to target Christians and symbols of Christian identity such as churches. Indeed, hundreds of churches have been destroyed, including over 500 in Benue State alone. Other key factors driving this violence include climate change, desertification, resource competition, the influence of politics, criminality, the ready availability of firearms and the spread of misinformation.

Attacks by armed groups of Islamist Fulani herdsmen have resulted in the killing, maiming, dispossession and eviction of thousands of Christians.

These factors are compounded by the Nigerian Government’s failure to respond adequately to the violence, to protect communities or to bring perpetrators of violence to justice. These issues need to be addressed if we are to save lives and improve the welfare of civilians and the report makes many recommendations about how this can be done.

COMMENTS FROM THE CHAIR OF THE APPG:

In the Foreword to the report, Jim Shannon MP, Chair of the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief says:

Over my ten years as a Member of the UK Parliament, the COVID-19 crisis has surely been one of the most difficult and surreal challenges I have experienced. Constituents have told me of their physical suffering, of job losses, and the pain of not being able to visit their loved ones. This widespread and tremendous difficulty is a somewhat novel experience for many of us in the UK but for countless Christians living in Nigeria, extreme challenges are nothing new.

Shockingly for a Commonwealth country, Nigeria ranks twelfth on Open Doors World Watch List 2020 of the countries in which Christians are most persecuted. By comparison, Syria ranks eleventh and Saudi Arabia ranks thirteenth, with Iraq fifteenth and Egypt sixteenth.

One of the main drivers of this persecution in Nigeria is the militant group Boko Haram who frequently abduct and kill those who refuse to conform to their extremist brand of Islam.

Unfortunately, Boko Haram are not the only threat that Nigerian Christians face. Attacks by armed groups of Islamist Fulani herdsmen have resulted in the killing, maiming, dispossession and eviction of thousands of Christians.

As Parliamentarians, I believe it is our responsibility to speak out on behalf of all the survivors and victims of violence, and all those who are suffering but who cannot speak out for themselves. One such survivor is Leah Sharibu, whose mother I was honoured to meet on a recent London visit. Two years ago, 14-year old Leah Sharibu was abducted by Islamist extremists from her school in Dapchi, north-east Nigeria. There are reports that she was enslaved, raped and impregnated, giving birth to a child, and that she has been denied her freedom for refusing to convert to Islam as a precondition for her release. There are thousands of Leahs held all over Nigeria, and across the world. This report is dedicated to her and the millions of others who suffer so unspeakably. Its purpose is to explore the drivers of conflict and to highlight the seriousness of the situation and the level of injustice that Nigerian Christians face.

Among all the injustices for the UK to help correct in the near future, the widespread and growing persecution of Christians should be top of the list. Thus, as the UK faces the challenge of lockdown and mass quarantine for the first time in living memory, I ask you to please spare a thought for those Christians who face not only a pandemic but also threats of violence and persecution that we can’t imagine. 

The report urges the Government of Nigeria and the international community to implement its recommendations to help save the lives of Nigerian citizens and to improve their welfare.

======================

Parliamentary Questions Tabled by Baroness Cox and Lord Alton

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government

 

what assessment they have made of the report by the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide, published on 15 June.

what discussions they plan to have with the government of Nigeria about the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan to help reduce the conflict involving farmers and herders in Nigeria.

 

what financial, technical and capacity building support they intend to offer to the government of Nigeria to implement the recommendations of the report by the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide, published on 15 June.

 

what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about violence in the Nigerian Middle-Belt involving farmers and herders.

 

what discussions they have had with the government of Nigeria about the investigation of cases of reported military complicity in violence against Christians and other human rights abuses.

 

Baroness Cox to ask Her Majesty’s Government

 

what discussions they have had with Member States of the UN about (1) resolving (a) conflict, and (b) persecution, across the Sahel region, and (2) addressing jihadist ideology underpinning continuing attacks.

 

what support they are providing for Nigerian citizens who have been displaced by jihadist violence in conflicts involving herders and farmers.

 

what plans they have to identify NGOs who are running effective programmes to deter attacks on (1) farming communities, and (2) religious minorities, in Nigeria; and what plans they have to improve the ability of these NGOs to scale up their programmes.

 

what plans they have to introduce mandatory training for (1) Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and (2) Department for International Development, staff, in Nigeria on (a) patterns of discrimination and conflict with religious characteristics, and (b) how religion and religious actors interact with the societal context.

 

 when they last made representations to the government of Nigeria on the abduction of Leah Sharibu; and what response they received.

 

 

FURTHER PRESS COVERAGE

 

 

All News Nigeria (19 June 2020)

UK Parliament Vows To Correct Injustices In Nigeria, Tackle Persecution Of Christians

https://allnews.ng/news/uk-parliament-vows-to-correct-injustices-in-nigeria-tackle-persecution-of-christians

 

Vanguard Nigeria (15 June 2020)

Christian persecution: UK lawmakers launch report on Nigeria, dedicates it to Leah Sharibu

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/06/christian-persecution-uk-lawmakers-launch-report-on-nigeria-dedicates-it-to-leah-sharibu/

 

Christian Today Magazine (16 June 2020)

Thousands of Christians killed in Nigeria amid fears of genocide, report warns

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/thousands-of-christians-killed-in-nigeria-amid-fears-of-genocide-report-warns/135032.htm

 

The Times of Israel (15 June 2020)

Call religious hatred by its name

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/call-religious-hatred-by-its-name/

 

Release International (15 June 2020)

Nigeria Killings: New Report Highlights Islamist Dimension

https://releaseinternational.org/nigeria-killings-new-report-highlights-islamist-dimension/

 

Independent Catholic News (15 June 2020)

Nigeria: Time for Britain to act

https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39817

 

Pan-African Visions (15 June 2020)

Preventing Hell in the Sahel

https://panafricanvisions.com/2020/06/preventing-hell-in-the-sahel/

 

CSW (15 June 2020)

CSW welcomes APPG report on violence in Central Nigeria

https://www.csw.org.uk/2020/06/15/press/4690/article.htm

 

Aid to the Church in Need (15 June 2020)

Nigeria: Corruption and weakness are killing us

https://acnuk.org/news/nigeria-corruption-and-weakness-are-killing-us/

 

Providence Magazine (15 June 2020)

Lela Gilbert: Is the world ignoring a Christian genocide in Nigeria?

https://providencemag.com/2020/04/world-ignoring-christian-genocide-nigeria/ 

 

Anglican Ink (16 June 2020)

Press Release: Parliamentary report warns of unfolding genocide in Nigeria against Christians

http://anglican.ink/2020/06/16/parliamentary-report-warns-of-unfolding-genocide-in-nigeria-against-christians/ 

 

Forbes (15 June 2020)

Ewelina Ochab: Is Genocide Happening In Nigeria As The World Turns A Blind Eye?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2020/06/15/is-genocide-happening-in-nigeria-as-the-world-turns-a-blind-eye/#cc54caa54052

 

Premier Christian Radio (15 June 2020)

New report says murders of Christians in Nigeria is paving the way for genocide (including recorded interview with Baroness Cox)

https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/new-report-says-murders-of-christians-in-nigeria-is-paving-the-way-for-genocide

 

Independent Catholic News (15 June 2020)

Nigeria: Time for Britain to act

https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39817

 

Religion Unplugged (9 June 2020) 

Lela Gilbert: ‘Black Lives Matter’ Around The World, Including In Nigeria Amid Rising Violence

https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=PV20F05

 

CSW (15 June 2020)

CSW welcomes APPG report on violence in Central Nigeria

https://www.csw.org.uk/2020/06/15/press/4690/article.htm

 

Aid to the Church in Need (15 June 2020)

Nigeria: Corruption and weakness are killing us

https://acnuk.org/news/nigeria-corruption-and-weakness-are-killing-us/

And see, Rebecca Tinsley: 

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/call-religious-hatred-by-its-name/

 

https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39817

 

https://panafricanvisions.com/2020/06/preventing-hell-in-the-sahel/

Catholic Universe (19 June 2020)

A genocide is taking place in the heart of West Africa

http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com/DE/UNI200619am.pdf and attached

190519 NIGERIA SPREAD_final

Premier Christian Radio (15 June 2020)

INTERVIEW WITH BARONESS COX: New report says murders of Christians in Nigeria is paving the way for genocide 

https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/new-report-says-murders-of-christians-in-nigeria-is-paving-the-way-for-genocide

 

The Guardian Nigeria (17 June 2020)

UK parliamentarian groups raise concern over genocide in Nigeria

https://guardian.ng/news/uk-parliamentarian-groups-raise-concern-over-genocide-in-nigeria/
All News Nigeria (19 June 2020)

UK Parliament Vows To Correct Injustices In Nigeria, Tackle Persecution Of Christians

https://allnews.ng/news/uk-parliament-vows-to-correct-injustices-in-nigeria-tackle-persecution-of-christians
Vanguard Nigeria (15 June 2020)

Christian persecution: UK lawmakers launch report on Nigeria, dedicates it to Leah Sharibu

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/06/christian-persecution-uk-lawmakers-launch-report-on-nigeria-dedicates-it-to-leah-sharibu/

 

Christian Today Magazine (16 June 2020)

Thousands of Christians killed in Nigeria amid fears of genocide, report warns

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/thousands-of-christians-killed-in-nigeria-amid-fears-of-genocide-report-warns/135032.htm

Lord Alton of Liverpool (15 June 2020)

Nigeria – an unfolding genocide? Important new report, dedicated to Leah Sharibu, launched today at Westminster.Leah’s mother, Rebecca, tells Parliamentarians, don’t grow weary or tired of helping us – the captivity and killing continues – hold President Buhari to account.”

https://davidalton.net/2020/06/15/nigeria-an-unfolding-genocide-important-new-report-dedicated-to-leah-sharibu-launched-today-at-westminster-leahs-mother-rebecca-tells-parliamentarians-dont-grow-weary-or-tired-of-helping-u/

 

 

THE SUNDAY TIMES

Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent
14 June 2020
Call to cut aid to Nigeria over Boko Haram’s bloody campaign against Christians

 

Rebecca Sharibu thought that by now her daughter Leah would be finishing school and entering medical college to fulfil her dream of becoming a nurse. Instead, the teenager has spent nearly 2½ years as a captive of Boko Haram fighters, somewhere in northeastern
Nigeria or neighbouring Chad.
“I am pleading to the world let me have my daughter back so she can live her dreams,”
Sharibu said last week. “There isn’t a day or night since she was taken that I haven’t cried.”
Leah was 14 when she was abducted, along with 109 other girls, from her school in Dapchi in February 2018, in an attack similar to that on a girls’ school in Chibok four years earlier.
But while the other Dapchi girls were rescued by Nigerian forces one month later, Leah was kept captive. She was the only Christian in the group and refused to renounce her faith.
A video released by Boko Haram six months after the attack, showed Leah pleading for her life as they threatened to kill her. “That’s the only time I have heard her voice,” her mother said.
Leah has since been raped and given birth to a son, according to reports, though her mother says she has seen no proof. “I cannot imagine what is happening to her,” she said. “Only God knows.” 
Her daughter’s abduction is part of what a British parliamentary report to be released tomorrow describes as “unfolding genocide” and “deliberate targeting of Christians”.

The report calls for British aid to Nigeria to be suspended until its government acts.
Eight months after Leah was seized, Sharibu managed to speak to Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s president, by phone.
“He promised to rescue her,” she said. “But the government has done nothing at all. I have not heard or seen anything from the government since. I think it’s because she is a Christian they are neglecting her.”
Five aid workers kidnapped by Boko Haram in December and released in January said they had heard that Leah was alive. The abducted schoolgirl turned 17 in captivity last month. 
“She is a very sweet girl, very well brought up, who loves people and laughs a lot,” Sharibu said. “She loved school.”
According to tomorrow’s report by the all-party parliamentary group for international freedom of religion or belief, an estimated 7,000 Nigerian Christians have been killed in the past five years by Islamists and Fulani herdsmen seeking land for cattle.

Hundreds of thousands have been displaced. One of the most horrific attacks took place on Boxing Day, when a Christian bride-to-be and her bridal party were massacred while travelling in Adamawa state to prepare for her wedding. Martha Bulus, her sister Zainab and five others were beheaded by Boko Haram, according to Father Francis Arinse, a diocesan communications director of Nigeria’s Catholic church.

Baroness Cox, a crossbench peer, who was one of the report’s authors, said the killings were part of a shocking pattern. “I have visited Nigeria many times and seen the horrendous suffering of the people who have been attacked by Islamist Fulani militias — including mutilated bodies, wounds of those afflicted by indescribable atrocities, burnt homes and churches and the plight of thousands of Christians who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods.”

In November, Cox and other parliamentarians met survivors including a woman called Margaret in the village of Ngar who told them: “My sister was raped and her wrists cut off before she was shot through the heart. They took my brother, his wife and all their six children, tied and slaughtered them like animals.”

Another victim, Veronica, from Dogon Noma, described how a man with a machete slashed her neck and hand, chopping off a finger. “I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I saw my daughter on the ground — she was dead — with my chopped finger in her mouth.”

Benjamin Kwashi, the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, told the British Parliamentarians: “We are not safe in our homes. I am raising an alarm — if [your] government will listen.”

DUP MP Jim Shannon, who chaired the inquiry, said: “Shockingly for a Commonwealth country, Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors World Watch List 2020 of the countries in which Christians are most persecuted, worse than Saudi Arabia.”