Bishop of Coventry asks Government about people displaced by conflict in Nigeria

Bp Coventry May 2015On 22nd November 2016 Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the continuing intercommunal conflicts in the northern and Middle Belt states of Nigeria; and what assistance they are providing for those displaced by these conflicts.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, my diocese is linked to the Anglican diocese of Kaduna, so I know something from the first-hand testimony of the bishop of the effects of communal violence in the Middle Belt states of Nigeria. Some very good reconciliation work is being undertaken there, as we have heard, and it is helpful to hear the assurance of the Minister on DfID funding for such projects. Perhaps I may ask her a little more specifically whether the Government are able to exert any influence on the Nigerian Government to ensure the return of land to communities that have been forcibly displaced.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, there are two parts to this. The first is the displacement of those who have suffered from the appalling and atrocious attacks by Boko Haram, and the only real solution to people being able to go back to an area where the infrastructure has been destroyed is a long-term political solution. We are assisting the Government of Nigeria, particularly from the security point of view. With regard to the conflict over land because of desertification, and the issue of the Fulani and the farmers, there is a government Bill currently before the Nigerian parliamentary system to establish grazing reserves, routes and cattle ranches. It is important that that Bill takes into account fully all the sensitivities of both farmers and herdsmen.