QUESTION:

Mrs Lina Chiam: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether Singapore has any bilateral ties with Nigeria and, if not, whether Singapore has taken any steps at the international level to support and assist the Nigerian Government for the release of the 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by rebels more than three months ago.

REPLY:

Madam Speaker,

1 Singapore and Nigeria established diplomatic relations in April 1970. Our ties with Nigeria are very good. I recently met my counterpart, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwuliri, when we hosted several African Foreign Ministers whom we invited to Singapore.

2 Madam Speaker, the Honourable Member, I believe, is referring to the incident on 14 April 2014 when Boko Haram, a Nigerian militant Islamist Group, abducted more than 200 girls from a school. The incident captured world-wide attention. More than 50 of the abductees managed to escape but the rest are believed to be still in captivity.

3 We sympathise with the plight of the abductees and their families. We strongly condemn the abduction of innocent girls. Singapore has not been approached by the Nigerian Government to render assistance. We also do not have the same capabilities as the US, UK or France, which had earlier provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to the Nigerian Government.
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TRANSCRIPT OF SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE, MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS AND MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, MASAGOS ZULKIFLI BIN MASAGOS MOHAMAD’S REPLY TO SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS, 9 SEPTEMBER 2014

Mrs Lina Chiam: Will the Singapore government do anything to help the Nigerian girls? I mean this is a global moral obligation. Could we do something to help them? What can the government do in this case? Any suggestions?

Senior Minister Of State: We should be mindful about being proactive in offering assistance. This is also to respect our bilateral partners. I met the MOS, she did not broach anything. I think we should respect that.

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