• Laments rights violations during #EndSARS protest
The United Kingdom Parliament has said it will deliberate on a petition by some groups and individuals, requesting the parliament to implement sanctions against the Nigerian Government and officials for alleged human rights violations during the #EndSARS protest and Lekki shootings.
The parliament has, also, lamented violence that erupted as the aftermath of the Lekki incidents, noting that it is awaiting the outcome of investigations by the federal and state governments into reports of police brutality.
It made this disclosure in a response to a petition signed by over 220,118 individuals in the United Kingdom, requesting the UK Government to sanction Nigeria for alleged violations of human rights.
The reply, which was signed by Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, was obtained from the official website of the parliament – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/554150.
In its reply to the petition, the parliament said the UK Government “is deeply concerned by violence during recent protests in Nigeria, which tragically claimed lives. Our thoughts are with the families of all those affected.”
Specifically, the reply read in part: “Parliament will debate this petition. Parliament will debate this petition on November 23 2020. You will be able to watch online on the UK Parliament YouTube channel.
“On July 6, the British Government established the Global Human Rights sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.
“The Foreign Secretary set out in full the scope of the UK’s new Global Human Rights sanctions regime. He announced the first tranche of designations, as well as the Government’s approach to future designations.
“This sanctions regime will give the UK a powerful new tool to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses. The sanctions regime is not intended to target individual countries.
“It will allow for sanctions to be imposed on individuals and entities involved in serious human rights violations or abuses around the world.
“We will continue to consider potential designations under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime. It is longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions designations as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations. The UK Government will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review,” the parliament said in its reply.
Consequently, it noted that the government should explore using the new sanctions regime that allows individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses.
The reply detailed different interventions that the UK Government had initiated to direct the attention of the federal government to cases of human rights violations during the EndSARS protest
It said the Foreign Secretary issued a statement on October 21 calling for an end to the violence and for the Nigerian Government to urgently investigate reports of brutality by its security forces and hold those responsible to account.
It added that the Minister for Africa tweeted on October 16, noting people’s democratic and peaceful calls for reforms, and again on October 21, encouraging the Nigerian authorities to restore peace and address concerns over brutality towards civilians.
It observed that the minister “reiterated these messages when he spoke to Foreign Minister Onyeama on October 23. The British High Commissioner in Abuja has also raised the protests with representatives of the Nigerian Government and will continue to do so.
“We welcome President Buhari’s decision to disband the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and the establishment of judicial panels of inquiry to investigate alleged incidents of brutality by the security services.
“They must investigate all incidents, including in Lagos, fully. The Minister for Africa tweeted on October 29 stressing the importance of the police and military cooperation with the panels. He raised this, and the need for the panels to urgently start investigations, when he spoke to the Governor of Lagos state on November 11.
“The UK Government will continue to work with the Nigerian Government and international and civil society partners to support justice, accountability and a more responsive policing model in Nigeria.
“We will continue to push for the Nigerian security services to uphold human rights and the rule of law, investigate all incidents of brutality, illegal detentions and use of excessive force, and hold those responsible to account,” it said