UK parliament wants Nigerian officials sanctioned for human rights abuses

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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.

A total of 220,330 people had signed the e-petition with over 2,000 of the petitioners from the UK. In the petition, the people accused the Nigerian government and security officials of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.

In the deliberation which took place on Monday, the parliament condemned the killing of peaceful protesters and called on the Nigerian government to uphold the rule of law.

This was in particular reference to the #EndSARS protest held across the country last month and the attack on peaceful and unarmed protesters by the military at Lekki toll gate.

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The UK government established the global human rights sanctions regime in July. It gives the UK a powerful tool to hold to account perpetrators of human rights violations or abuses and is considered one of the most important international policies made since the Conservatives returned to power.

Leading the debate, Theresa Villiers, a member of parliament and petition committee, said the petition was prompted by disturbing violence in Nigeria over recent weeks. And protesters’ distrust in the government after the disbandment of SARS especially if the officers will be moved to other police units.

In what seemed like a solidarity movement, members at the chamber took turns to condemn the inhumane treatment on civilians. They asked that the authorities be held accountable for their crime against humanity and called for impartial investigation to begin a process to secure justice for victims and their families.

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.

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