APPG Report: FG condemns allegation of genocide against Christians

Posted by News Express | 28 August 2020 | 938 times

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•Foreign Affairs Minister Godfrey Onyeama


The Federal Government, has condemned what it termed false allegation of genocide against Christians in the country by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The government’s reaction is sequel to a report launched by APPG on June 15, 2020, in Westminster, United Kingdom.

Titled ‘Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide?’ the launch of the report 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.

APPG said that alarmed by the dramatic and escalating violence in Nigeria characterised as the farmer-herder conflict which manifested along ideological lines, as the herders are predominantly ethnic Fulani Muslims and the farmers are predominantly Christians, it 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.

APPG added that its inquiry found that Nigerian Christians were experiencing devastating violence, with attacks by armed groups of Islamist Fulani herders resulting in the killing, maiming, dispossession and eviction of thousands.

It also said the exact death toll was unknown, but “Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust quoted 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,” APPG wrote on its website.

But the Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, in a statement made available to Daily Sun in Abuja, said: “The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to a misleading report in the media by the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, on the herders-farmers conflict in Nigeria.

“The 56-page report by the APPG, an informal cross-party group with no official status within the UK Parliament, titled: “Nigeria-Unfolding Genocide?” falsely claimed that the escalating conflict between Fulani herders and farmers in Northern Nigeria is manifested along ideological lines, with violence primarily targeted at Christians in the North. This unfortunate conclusion is a deviation from the truth and unnecessary exaggeration that intends to create bad blood among members of dominant faiths in the country.”

The government further said the controversial report should be disregarded, because even the group issued a disclaimer in the report under reference, affirming that “this is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in the report are those of the Groups.”

“The Ministry wishes to assure the Nigerian citizenry and members of the international community that the Government of Nigeria acknowledges the negative impact of the terrorist and bandit attacks in the country and is committed to ensuring the protection of lives and properties of all citizens,” the statement read. (Daily Sun)

Source: News Express

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