3 February 2016
As the Nigerian President today arrives in Strasbourg today, two European Conservatives and Reformists MEPs have commended the work of the Nigerian Administration in fighting Boko Haram, and set out some of the extra work that Nigeria needs to carry out in protecting human rights and the victims of religious discrimination.
Speaking in the European Parliament before President Buhari’s speech, Dr Charles Tannock MEP, ECR foreign affairs spokesman, said:
“The invitation to President Buhari to address the European Parliament is a strong sign of our support of the work that his administration has undertaken to tackle Boko Haram. In its stronghold of Borno, the terrorist group has brought devastation to all communities, committing grave atrocities. The fight to ultimately defeat Boko Haram will not be easy but there are signs that its ability to mount attacks is being weakened. We in Europe will continue to support the efforts of Buhari’s Government and recognise the global jihadist threats that Nigeria faces as our own.
Peter Van Dalen MEP, co-chair of the ECR’s religions freedom policy group, said:
“President Buhari deserves commendation for Nigeria’s leadership of the regional military task force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram – who clearly constitute the most extreme threat to human rights and security in Nigeria, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
“As well as this military problem, Mr. Buhari is aware of numerous entrenched institutional problems, which also deserve urgent attention.
“First, Sharia law has been allowed to function in twelve Northern states, without a constitutional review by the Supreme Court. These include death sentences for blasphemy and apostasy, which are incompatible with International Law.
“Further, in those areas non-Muslim minorities suffer widespread discrimination in access to basic services like education and development programmes.
“This impunity and systematized discrimination has emboldened social hostilities and religious-based attacks – which have claimed over 900 fatalities between January and July (2015).
“I want to encourage President Buhari, as he seeks to make the institutional changes necessary to address these wrongs, and I urge him to continue with all possible efforts to combat Boko Haram/ISIS.”
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