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Nigeria: Politics and Government

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to assist democratic reform in Nigeria. (198125)

[holding answer of 2 April 2008]: The UK regularly stresses the importance of transparency and democratic reform to the Nigerian Government. Following widespread concerns about the conduct of the Nigerian elections in April 2007, we have continued to pursue a range of programmes designed to promote democratisation.

Over the past three years, the Department for International Development (DFID) has committed up to £7 million to support Nigerian electoral processes, including support to non-governmental organisations involved in voter education and media and conflict monitoring. DFID also works to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian National Assembly through technical assistance to key parliamentary committees. Its programme ‘Coalitions for Change’ supports groups from civil society, the private sector, the media and government to work together to change the formal and informal rules that have entrenched poor accountability and poor resource management in Nigeria.

The British Council has commissioned a report investigating the impact of demographics on electoral inclusion in Nigeria. It has helped develop a number of Youth Assemblies in Nigeria, which provide access to democratic processes to young people. It also supports a youth newspaper and radio broadcasts on governance related issues.

This year, our High Commission in Abuja initiated a Public Diplomacy programme on Supporting Democratic Development. Other programmes include those to support freedom of expression and association, which also contribute to democratic reform.