Emerging report indicates that members of the United Kingdom, UK, Parliament, on Monday, took turns to lambast the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, for the attack and intimidation of peaceful protesters who took part in the EndSARS demonstrations across the country, simply demanding for an end to Police brutality and bad governance.
They demanded sanctions on top government Officials and Security Agents, such as visa ban, freezing of foreign assets, and stopping the funding and training of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF.
The debate was sequel to a petition started by Silas Ojo, which had garnered over 200,000 signatures from oppressed Nigerians.
The debate by members of the Petitions Committee, which took place at the Westminster Hall, kicked off 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.
The Member of Parliament, MP, for Chipping Barnet Constituency said: “I believe the Petitioners have a credible case for the imposition of individualised sanctions, such as travel bans and assets freezing.”
She said that the UK government must explain the role of the government in training Security Agents, who end up abusing the rights of the 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 reported killings at the Lekki toll gate, on Tuesday night, October 20, was fake news.
Osamor said: “The Nigerian government says that it has disbanded SARS, but the corruption and brutality of the Security Forces continue. 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 said that the UK government continues to sell weapons and provide training to SARS Personnel, despite the fact that Amnesty International, AI, and other human rights groups had accused the now disbanded Unit of extra-judicial killings.
The Member of Parliament for West Ham, Lyn Brown, said that it is unfortunate that the Federal Government went ahead to not only accuse protesters of sponsoring terrorism, and freeze their accounts, but also blamed them for the increase in food prices in the country.
Responding on behalf of the UK government, the MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, Wendy Morton, who is also the Minister at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, stated that the reports of intimidation of EndSARS protesters are worrying.
Morton noted that the UK government is communicating with President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the Governor of Lagos State, 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 disclosed.