Mr Redwood’s intervention during the Urgent Question on Nigeria, 12 January 2015

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I agree entirely with what the Minister and the shadow Minister have said. I particularly agree with the Government’s decision not to intervene in Nigeria directly with military force. Will the Minister explain, though, why the west is right to try to use military force in Syria and Iraq, in rather similar situations, but not in Nigeria?

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr Hugo Swire): We have deployed assistance to Nigeria and we will continue to do so, particularly on the intelligence side. I repeat that Nigeria is one of the richest countries in Africa and it spends 20% of its own budget on defence expenditure. In the normal course of events, it should be able to handle these things itself, but it cannot, and that is why we are providing assistance to enable it to do so. Drawing any parallel between what is going on in Syria and Iraq is not useful, if I may say so. This is something localised to Nigeria, and we want to prevent it from spreading across other parts of Africa.