On 12th October 2020 the Bishop of Coventry received answers to two written questions on Nigeria, on the rule of law and freedom of religion, and the detention of Mubarak Bala:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about the arrest and ongoing detention without trial of Mubarak Bala. [HL8623]
Baroness Sugg: The UK Government remains concerned by the continued detention of Mubarak Bala and we are monitoring his case closely. Our High Commissioner raised the case earlier this year with the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force and has recently raised it with the Kano State Governor and Attorney General. The Minister for Africa also discussed the case with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs in May. We continue to stress to the Nigerian Government the importance of a transparent investigation that respects Mr Bala’s human rights, the rule of law, and the Nigerian constitutional right to freedom of religion or belief.
Defending freedom of religion or belief for all remains a UK Government priority and we will continue to use our voice internationally to protect this human right.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the rule of law in Kano State, Nigeria, and what financial and technical assistance they are providing to strengthen the rule of law and the protection of freedom of religion or belief in the region. [HL8625]
Baroness Sugg: The UK Government is monitoring a number of legal cases in Kano State, about which we have raised concerns over human rights, including the constitutional right to freedom of religion or belief. This includes the cases of Mubarak Bala and Yahaya Sharif-Aminu. We continue to engage the federal and state authorities to stress the importance of transparent investigations that respect human rights and the rule of law.
For over a decade, we have worked to strengthen the rule of law and adherence to human rights requirements with the Nigerian Police Force, including in Kano State. A recent programme, which concluded in March, focussed on strengthening the capability, accountability and responsiveness of the police. This included the importance of fair, transparent, and respectful treatment of civilians. We are also supporting the Centre for Law Enforcement and Education to monitor the conduct of security forces during the coronavirus pandemic. The data collated by the Centre for Law Enforcement and Education is referred to the Police Service Commission and National Human Rights Commission.
The UK remains committed to promoting and protecting the rule of law and human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, around the world. We are a strong voice internationally in defence of this fundamental right.