UK lawmakers write Commonwealth over insecurity in Nigeria

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Some members of the House of Lords, the British upper legislative chamber, have expressed concerns over the persistence of insurgency and farmer/herder crisis in Nigeria.

The lawmakers, in a letter dated September 14 and addressed to Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, said the failure of the federal government to protect Nigerians was a breach of its obligations under the Commonwealth Charter.

Referencing a report by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, they said thousands of civilians have been killed and “elements of the Nigerian government may be complicit in violence”.

The lawmakers asked that a probe be carried out into the killings and at the least ensure “adequate protection and aid for those suffering the loss of family members and the destruction of their homes and livelihoods”.

The letter read: “We write to highlight urgent concerns about escalating violence in Nigeria, where attacks led by Boko Haram, Fulani herders, and other Islamist militia continue in northern and central-belt states, with reports of increasing violence in the South-East.

“The state’s failure to protect its citizens is a clear breach of its obligations under the Commonwealth Charter in respect of human rights.

“There is now an urgent need to ensure adequate protection and aid for those suffering the loss of family members and the destruction of their homes and livelihoods.

“And to end impunity by ensuring that complaints related to human rights violations are promptly, independently, and impartially investigated and those responsible are held to account after fair trials.”

The parliamentarians further asked that the issue be raised with the Commonwealth ministerial action group.

“We write, therefore, to ask whether you are able to respond on behalf of the Commonwealth and to raise these urgent concerns with the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. We would be very willing to meet in person (or perhaps more practically online via zoom) to discuss how we might proceed.”

The letter was co-signed by 18 lawmakers.

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