The Parliament of the United Kingdom on Monday held a debate following e-petitions received accusing the Nigerian government and security officials of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.
Theresa Villers, a member of the parliament at the opening of the debate said 220,330 people had signed the e-petition and they have a credible case.
Villers said the petition was prompted by disturbing violence in Nigeria over recent weeks and the petitioners have a credible case.
“I believe that the petitioners have a credible case for the imposition of individualised sanctions such as travel bans and assets freezing.
“Of course I appreciate there are real sensitivities which might be considered as interfering into domestic affairs of another country especially where there was a previous colonial involvement.
“But I still hope that Ministers should give serious considerations to what the e-petitioners requests,” she said.
While condemning the suppression of peaceful protesters through travel ban and asset freezing, Villers said the plight of the Nigerian youths must never be forgotten.
Another lawmaker, Kate Osamor in her contribution said the situation is a serious one and that the #EndSARS protesters are not only demanding an end to police brutality but also demanding “a truly democratic Nigeria.”
Osamor who is of Nigerian descent called for the review of the country’s funding of some security agencies and describing the #EndSARS protests as a movement peacefully demanding an end to brutality, extortion, and extrajudicial executions and for a truly democratic Nigeria.
Osamor argued that the funds used in backing Nigeria’s security agencies should be channeled to other projects.
“Today, we need to consider how the government should respond to both the movement itself and the violent actions of the Nigerian regime,” Osamor, a Labour and Co-operative lawmaker, representing Edmonton, said.
Following the debate, the lawmakers demanded the UK government to consider imposing sanctions on officials who are found culpable of human rights abuses of Nigerian citizens.
In her contribution, one of the lawmakers who said she has friends in Nigeria and they have all expressed concern concerning the issue of human rights abuses in the country said, “If those who ordered and facilitated the killings of unarmed protesters are not held accountable, then the UK government should advocate that independent investigations take place.”
The lawmakers said any individuals found responsible for these atrocities following investigations by the Nigerian government must face sanctions.
A Petition For Sanctions
Monday’s debate followed a petition brought to the lawmakers by one Silas Ojo, seeking to sanction those who allegedly abused people during the protests/
As of Sunday evening, the petition had garnered 220,315 signatures, according to the UK Parliament’s website, crossing the 100, 000 mark needed for a petition to be debated by the lawmakers.
Early last month, thousands of Nigerians thronged to the streets, calling for an end to police brutality and extra-judicial killings by the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
A largely peaceful demonstration in several parts of the country, however, later turned violent with arson, looting, and killing of security personnel and civilians alike after it was hijacked by hoodlums.