The UK parliament has called on the British government to immediately commence investigation into human rights abuses by the Nigerian government and security agencies on citizens.
It also demanded the UK government to consider imposing sanctions on officials who are found culpable. These sanctions range from visa bans to assets freezing as contained in an e-petition upon which the parliament’s Monday debate was based.
UK Government’s stand
The Minister for Africa, who was meant to be present at the chamber, was “away on a ministerial duty” and could not make it, Wendy Morton, another MP told the chamber.
She, in place of the minister, responded on behalf of the government.
She informed that the minister had spoken to Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu and the president’s chief of staff, Ibrahim Gambari, between October 21 and November 11 – asking the Nigerian authorities to restore peace to troubled areas.
She said the UK government welcomes President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to disband SARS but wants the police brutality investigated.
“We welcome the dialogue between state governments and the people. We welcome the establishment of judicial panels and we will continue to monitor the investigation by the panels as well as the progress on police reforms.
“…protesters were intimidated and this did not leave the environment safe for protesters to demand accountability. We call on the Nigerian government to uphold the rule of law, investigate human rights abuses and the use of force and hold those responsible…”
They agreed that British-Nigerian constituents will be reassured if they have a clear statement that no UK military tax payers money will be used by security forces in Nigeria.
They also urged the government to look beyond sanctions to monitoring the way development funding is spent in Nigeria.
Instead of funding corrupt security officers and investing in projects which do not benefit ordinary Nigerians, we need a new focus on poverty reliefs and anti-corruption programmes.
“While the minister has failed to make commitments on targeted sanctions, we believe that this will be taken seriously and investigation and justice will be carried out soon,” Ms Villiers said in her closing remarks.