UK Lawmakers Launch Report on Nigeria, Dedicate it to Leah Sharibu
The United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Group, APPG, for International Freedom of Religion or Belief has launched a new report on Nigeria.
The launch of the report held on Monday in Westminster titled, ‘NIGERIA: UNFOLDING GENOCIDE?’
took place in the House of Commons, featuring 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.
According to report made available to PROVIDENCE News, the group took a holistic look at the menace while also making recommendations.
The group also bemoaned the growing influence power and influence of Islamist extremism across sahel in the report.
It notes that, “it is this power and influence that drive some Fulani herders to target Christian and symbols of Christian identities, such as churches”.
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.
Chair of the group, Jim Shannon MP, in his forward to the compilation, stated that the views expressed in the report were those of the group and not that of the British House of Commons or House of Lords.
Shannon noted that though the Covid-19 crisis had been one of the most difficult and surreal challenges, including physical suffering, of job losses, and the pain of not being able to visit loved ones. This 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 12th on Open Doors World Watch List 2020 of the countries in which Christians are most persecuted. By comparison, Syria ranks 11th and Saudi Arabia ranks 13th, with Iraq 15th and Egypt 16th”, he said.
Explaining further, he stated that, “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.”
He indicated that, “UK should help correct the injustices, the widespread and growing persecution of Christians in the near future.”
He called on Christians to 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.