By Chigozie Umeh
The UK Parliament is considering severe sanctions and travel bans against members of the Nigerian government and security service over the damning evidences of human rights abuse during the recent ENDSARS protest across Nigeria.
The debate of the e-petition 554140 among others relating to human rights abuses in Nigeria was raised by a female parliamentarian and supported by all the members of the Parliament.
Speaking with hurt voices yesterday, November 23, 2020, they pointed out that 220,330 people signed the e-petition referring to the “disturbing event” following the human rights abuses by the Special Anti Robbery Squad for the past 28 years and a problem of abuse of power beyond SARS.
It was highlighted that in the present regime, four times SARS have been disbanded yet they are still operating and being sponsored by the Nigerian government.
“Peaceful marches ensued and captured all the concerns of the people in regards to corruption, poor leadership and suchlike and the government responded by repressing the protesters.
They highlighted that Amnesty International and United States news medium, CNN, maintained that, contrary to the claims of the Nigerian government, there were shootings at Lekki toll gate and that people got injured and killed.
The e-petitioners are asking for targeted sanctions against certain individuals believed culpable to these human rights abuses in Nigeria.
The parliamentarian who raised the issue hoped that ministers gave serious consideration of what the petitioners ask, despite the sensitivity of the situation given it is a formally colonised country.
Adding her voice, the Parliamentarian representing Edmonton said there was need to stand against the increasing and repressive measures to stop a peaceful protest against violence and human rights abuses in Nigeria.
“It is immoral for UK to play a positive role in funding SARS unit and the minister should apologise publicly to the Nigerian people and investigate the events that culminated to the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre on October 20, 2020.
In their words, “The Minister should condemn the Nigerian government for their role in the killing. The UK must never be neutral when it comes to human rights abuses. The UK should never be a safe haven for people who deny such for their own people.”
They also condemned the fining of media houses that carried the story, freezing of the accounts of some of the participants in the protests.
It was a unanimous position by the members of the Parliament that it was time to stop people who steal from Nigerian people and hide the money in the UK. The UK needs to use Magnesky Sanction which would focus on individuals among the government and security personnel in Nigeria found culpable in the years of corruption and human rights abuses.
“This is an opportunity for the UK to do something real in the interest of everyone including the British people.
“The protesters are arguing for the rights of not only themselves but also for Democracy and the power of the people across the globe.”
Reacting to this development, some Nigerians in diaspora stated that this development “may serve as a ray of hope for millions of Nigerian youths now living in fear and despair in Nigeria, many seeking for possible ways to escape Nigeria under such a dictatorial regime disguised as a democracy.”