British politician Lord David Alton of Liverpool has called on the U.K. government to urgently address persecution in Nigeria, starting with last year’s Christmas attacks that left more than 200 Christians in Nigeria’s Plateau state dead.

The former Liberal and Liberal Democrat member of Parliament appealed to the U.K. Parliament to take action to address jihadist extremism, which, according to a Jan. 16 report by the charity foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), is driving terrorist attacks across Nigeria.

Alton, who serves on Westminster’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, asked Lord Richard Benyon, the U.K. minister of state for climate, environment, and energy, and others in the chamber: “Who is being brought to justice for the further 200 killings in Plateau state in Nigeria just two weeks ago, over Christmas?”

Alton demanded urgent action to identify and bring to trial the perpetrators of the attacks that started on Dec. 23, 2023, and continuing through Christmas, as well as other extremist atrocities in the West African country.

The Catholic politician demanded that the 2022 Pentecost Sunday church massacre that left more than 50 Christians dead in Nigeria’s Ondo state also be looked into.

Speaking at a debate in the House of Lords on Jan. 11, Alton recalled meeting Dominic and Margaret Attah, survivors of the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, who visited the U.K. for ACN #RedWednesday events last year.

“Margaret’s legs were so badly damaged by the jihadist bomb that they had to be amputated,” Alton recalled. “The couple wanted to know — and so do I — why no one has been brought to justice in this culture of impunity.”

“Why is Leah Sharibu — whose case I have raised regularly in your lordships’ House and whose mother, Rebecca, I escorted to the Palace of Westminster so that she could meet members of both Houses — still in captivity, having been abducted, raped, and forcibly converted at the age of 14?” he asked.

Alton found it “absurd” that some are blaming climate change for the atrocities being meted against Christians in Nigeria.

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Addressing Benyon, Alton said: “I would like him to look particularly at the situation in Nigeria and the absurd suggestion made … by a head of state [Michael D. Higgins, president of Ireland] that climate change was the cause of 40 people being murdered in a church in Ondo on Pentecost Sunday (2022).”

He added: “Climate change and cuts to aid certainly impact development, but so does jihadist ideology, and we should not be frightened in saying so.”

He went on to say that persecution and conflict are major drivers in the displacement of 110 million people worldwide, and explained: “These drivers destroy lives, such as those that I have just mentioned, and set back development.”

Alton also mentioned #RedWednesday, ACN’s annual initiative shining a light on Christian persecution around the world.

#RedWednesday 2023 focused on the growing problems in Africa where there has been a dramatic rise in violent conflict and persecution.

This story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa, and has been adapted by CNA.