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Volume 403: debated on Thursday 10 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what monitoring the UK is undertaking of the Nigerian elections, with particular reference to communal violence. [107889]

The UK is part of the EU election observer team which has already arrived in Nigeria. With 96 observers in total it is the largest international team to be monitoring the elections. The UK has partially funded the Commonwealth observer mission, over a third of whom are African. The British High Commission in Abuja will provide 35 separate observers.All the observer teams are aware of the need for peaceful, free and fair elections. HMG have allocated £3 million for supporting the elections. This includes help for the Nigerian Electoral Commission, training of journalists and work on a police code for the elections. In addition, DfID, in collaboration with other donors, has funded the Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa (IDASA), an experienced NGO, to monitor communal electoral violence throughout Nigeria and to produce a weekly summary of incidents.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cases of inter-communal violence the Department has investigated in Nigeria in the last six months. [107890]

The High Commission in Nigeria reports on cases of inter-communal violence when they occur, basing its information on first hand reports from local contacts and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the region. It is for the Federal Government of Nigeria and the local Nigerian authorities, not HMG, to investigate the incidents. We are, however, active in seeking to prevent these clashes, for example through support for the work of Coventry Cathedral's Centre for reconciliation.