I remain seriously concerned by the worsening security situation in Nigeria. I have strongly condemned the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok by the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, on 14 April. I am also appalled by continuing reports of violent attacks, including further abductions, throughout Nigeria.
I have given my full support to the clear demands of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and the High Representative of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, that the girls abducted in Chibok be released and that those responsible be brought to justice. I welcome the support now being provided to the Nigerian authorities from a number of our EU partners and from the USA, to help find the missing schoolgirls.
At its meeting in Brussels on 12 May, the EU Foreign Affairs Council underlined the EU’s concern at the terrorist attacks in northern Nigeria, strongly condemned the abduction of the schoolgirls and called for their immediate and unconditional release. The Council emphasised the EU’s readiness to support the Nigerian authorities in the resolution of this crime and their ongoing efforts to defeat terrorism in all its forms, in full respect of human rights.
On 26 May, the EU agreed to fund a further series of measures, including the provision of technical assistance to the Office of the National Security Advisor to implement and coordinate counter terrorism legislation and crisis management structures, and to develop capacity to address the issue of increasing radicalisation and recruitment.
On 22 May, the UN Security Council Al Qaida Sanctions Committee approved the addition of Boko Haram to its list of individuals and entities subject to targeted financial sanctions and an arms embargo. With effect from the 29 May, the EU added Boko Haram to the lists of groups covered by the freezing of funds and economic resources.
The Boko Haram group has been condemned by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States. In May 2013, the International Criminal Court determined that allegations of crimes by Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces could be considered within the scope of the Statute dealing with war crimes in internal armed conflict. The United Nations Office for West Africa is also working to integrate UN supports in the region to assist Nigeria’s efforts.
Our Embassy in Abuja, working in cooperation with EU and other key partners, is in close contact with the Nigerian authorities, who have the primary responsibility for the resolution of the case of the missing school girls and of the broader security situation. We will continue to support every effort being undertaken by the Nigerian Government to counter radicalisation and terrorism within its borders, to resolve the specific case of the abducted schoolgirls and to promote full respect for human rights.