Lekki Shooting: UK Parliament Kicks Against Nigeria Sanctions

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Lekki Shooting: UK Parliament Kicks Against Nigeria Sanctions

YBTC News-United Kingdom Members of Parliament (MPs) have kicked against sanctions for Nigeria following deliberations on a petition signed by over 220,000 people.

The UK parliament met on Monday to discuss the shooting incident that happened in Lekki, Lagos state during the EndSARS protests by Nigerian youths who were calling for an end to police brutality.

Nigerian citizens largely youths were protesting human rights abuses, harassment and assault by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.

Abena Oppong-Asare a Member of Parliament for Erith and Thamesmead reckons that placing sanctions on Nigeria might not resolve the misunderstanding, rather she called for an independent investigation to be conducted.

“The UK Government will continue to work with the Nigerian Government and international and civil society partners in support of police reform,” British Ghanaian MP said.

Adding that, “I do not believe that placing economic country-wide sanctions on Nigeria will help address the ongoing issues of police and military violence.

“The UK Government should first call for an independent investigation into allegations of misconduct by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

“Furthermore, that investigation should look at the wider issues of violence and human rights abuses by military and police across Nigeria.

Taiwo Owatemi shares a similar sentiment. The Member of Parliament for Coventry North West argued that sanctions could have repercussion on the citizens.

“On sanctions, which we are here to discuss, if we can ensure that they will not negatively affect civilians—directly or indirectly—I support a travel ban and asset seizure sanctions for individual officials who are found responsible.

She argued that, “British officials trained SARS officers from 2016 to 2020, as well as the Nigerian army. What did that training entail? Could it have prevented escalation of this kind? Standing here as a proud British Nigerian, I implore the Minister and colleagues across the House to pursue answers to those questions and to do what they can to facilitate Nigerians’ fight for freedom.

For Wendy Morton who serves as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for European Neighbourhood and the Americas the disbandment of SARS by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria is a step in the right direction.

She also cautioned that since judicial inquiries are ongoing across Nigeria, it is instructive that the panels complete their probe before sanctions can be discussed.

“We welcome President Buhari’s decision to disband the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the police unit at the centre of recent protests, we also welcome the emerging dialogue between state governors and young people.

“The Nigerian police force’s recent adoption of the community policing framework developed by the Nigeria policing programme is a positive outcome. Our support to civil society was instrumental in the President recently passing the Nigeria Police Act 2020, which provides for greater citizen protections and improved police training, which we believe will benefit Nigerians.

She added that, “We will closely monitor the judicial panels of inquiry, and will continue to advocate for investigations of police brutality. The Government will consider their options as the panels’ work progresses, and improve the accountability and transparency of the Nigerian police, for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“The Government will also continue to work with the Nigerian government and international and civil society partners, to improve the accountability and transparency of the Nigerian police, for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Other MPs at the deliberation were Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet), Kate Osamor (Edmonton), Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling), Janet Daby (Lewisham East), Alyn Smith (Stirling), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth), and Mslyn Brown (West Ham).

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