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#EndSARS: UK Parliamentarians Propose Sanctions Against Nigerian Government

#EndSARS: UK Parliamentarians Propose Sanctions Against Nigerian Government

The United Kingdom parliamentarians have recommended sanctions against Nigerian government officials and security agents who abused the rights of #EndSARS demonstrators last month.

They demanded sanctions on government officials and security agents such as visa ban, freezing of assets and stopping the funding and training for the Nigeria Police Force.

The debate was sequel to a petition started by Silas Ojo which had garnered over 200,000 signatures.

The UK lawmakers expressed lack of confidence in Nigeria’s handling of the incident and vowed to launch an independent investigation to unravel the circumstances of the alleged shooting.

The debate by members of the Petitions Committee, which took place at the Westminster Hall, kicked off with Theresa Villiers, a member of the British Conservative Party who served as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2019 to 2020.

The Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet constituency said, “I believe the petitioners have a credible case for the imposition of individualised sanctions such as travel bans and asset freezes.”

She said the UK Government must explain the role of the government in training security agents who end up abusing the rights of Nigerian citizens.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Nigeria Petitions CNN Over Lekki Shooting Report

The parliament did not just debate the #EndSARS protest and its violent aftermath; they also briefly touched on the Oyigbo killings in Rivers State and perceived persecution of Christians in Nigeria.

Expressing concern about what happened in Nigeria, the parliamentarians condemned the shooting of unarmed protesters, the subsequent crackdown on #EndSARS promoters and the sanction on three Nigerian television stations.

Demanding accountability for those responsible for such brutality and loss of lives during and after the protests, they called for independent investigations into the violations by Nigerian police, security and military forces.

Also speaking, the MP for Edmonton, Kate Osamor, described as undemocratic, the claim by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that the killings at the Lekki toll plaza was fake news.

Osamor stated, “The Nigerian government says that it has disbanded SARS but the corruption and brutality of the security forces continues. The Nigerian government’s violence against its own citizens appears only to be intensifying.

READ ALSO: Lekki Tollgate Shooting: CNN Investigation Reveals Soldiers Used Live Ammunition, Shot at Protesters

“The Nigerian government needs to stop freezing bank accounts of key protesters; it needs to stop illegal detentions of key protesters. The Minister of Information for the Federal Government went on record to state that the CNN reporting of the massacre is fake news. This is undemocratic conduct.”

Osamor stated that the UK government continued to sell weapons and provide training to SARS personnel despite the fact that Amnesty International and other rights groups had accused the now disbanded unit of extra-judicial killings.

Member of Parliament for West Ham, Lyn Brown, said it was unfortunate that the Federal Government went ahead to not only accuse protesters of sponsoring terrorism and freeze their accounts but also blamed them for the increase in food prices.

Responding on behalf of the UK government, the MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, Wendy Morton, who is also the Minister at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said the reports of intimidation of #EndSARS protesters were worrying.

Morton stated that the UK government was communicating with the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

“It is a long-standing practice not to speculate on future sanctions as it could reduce the impact of the designations,” Morton said.

“We are aware that some protesters have reported facing intimidation and the British High Commissioner in Abuja continues to raise our concerns about intimidation of civil society groups and peaceful protesters with the Nigerian government,” the minister said.

About Author

Oputah David is a Mass Communication graduate with a master's degree in Organisational Behaviour and another in Mass Communication. He is also a Bloomberg trained Financial journalist with an interest in markets and the economy. He can be reached via – [email protected]

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