UK Parliament on Monday slammed President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime for the attack and intimidation of #EndSARS protesters.
Members of the parliament 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.
This debate comes after a petition started by Silas Ojo which had garnered over 200,000 signatures.
The debate which took place at the Westminster Hall, by members of the Petitions Committee, started 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.
Theresa Villiers 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 give an explanation of the role of the government in training security agents who later abuse the rights of Nigerian citizens.
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.
“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 also stated that the UK government has sold weapons and provided training to SARS personnel despite the fact that Amnesty International and other rights groups had accused the now disbanded unit of extra-judicial killings.
Lyn Brown, a member representing West Ham, said it was sad that the Federal Government not only accused protesters of sponsoring terrorism and froze their accounts but also blamed them for the increase in food prices.
Wendy Morton, Minister at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, on behalf of the UK government said the reports of intimidation of #EndSARS protesters were worrying.
Morton announced 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.