Sunday, 2 November 2014

Defeating Boko Haram, Nigeria’s Responsibility — Britain

David Cameron - British Prime Minister
The British government has said there is a limit to what assistance it can offer Nigeria as Boko Haram renews its attacks in the North-East.

While acknowledging the complex nature of the insurgency, the British government, through its Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Joyce Anelay, stated that her country was in constant discussion with the Federal Government.

The minister, who was fielding questions from the House of Lords on Thursday, however, said the British government was cautious of what it said about the ongoing insurgency in Nigeria.

She told the parliament, “Nigeria faces a serious threat from Boko Haram. We believe that more than 3,000
people have been killed by Boko Haram this year and more than 1.5 million people have been displaced. We are aware of reports that Nigerian authorities have agreed to a ceasefire with Boko Haram and are in ongoing negotiations. We are also aware of reports of Boko Haram attacks since the ceasefire announcement.

We monitor events closely.

“Boko Haram deliberately targets the weak and vulnerable, causing suffering in communities of differing faiths and ethnicities. It has no regard for human life. We are in continual discussion with the Nigerian authorities to press exactly as the noble Baroness says, and we give as much support as we can in intelligence matters.”

During the question-and-answer session, a member of parliament, Caroline Cox, who had made visits to areas worst hit by current militants’ insurrection, urged the British government to put pressure on Nigeria to be more effective in tackling the insurgency.

“I thank the minister for that sympathetic reply. Is she aware that I have visited areas afflicted by Boko Haram and found that the scale of suffering to which she refers massively exceeds that reported by the media?

“Despite reports of a peace agreement with Boko Haram, to which the Minister refers, local people do not believe that the federal and state authorities are sufficiently willing or able to stop Boko Haram’s reign of terror. Therefore, will Her Majesty’s government make the strongest possible representation to the government of Nigeria to do much more to implement effective policies to protect all its citizens from this escalating terrorism?” Cox said.

Responding to her questions and those posed by other members of the parliament, Anelay pointed out that
Britain would give Nigeria the strongest support it could, adding that a Sentinel and Tornado GR4 aircraft had already been deployed to assist in the fight against Boko Haram.

She noted, “We are therefore most cautious in what we say in these matters. What I will say is that it is for the Nigerian authorities to resolve the matter. We will give the strongest support we can.”

Source:
Punch Newspaper