The United Kingdom (UK) Parliament has said that a petition it received from Nigeria seeking sanctions against the Nigerian Government and Police Force over alleged human rights violations during the #ENDSARS protests would be debated on November 23.
This development, which was made known on its website, also stated that the debate would be led by Theresa Villiers at the Westminster Hall between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm. In the debate pack titled, ‘E-petition 554150, relating to Nigeria and the sanctions regime’, the parliament referenced the shootings of #ENDSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020, as one of its press articles.
It said, “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.
“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.”
The media reported that not less than 220,304 individuals signed the petition asking the UK to sanction members of the Nigerian government and police force for human rights abuses over the #ENDSARS movement because the government of President Muhammadu Buhari deployed officers and men of the Nigerian army who visited the peaceful protesters and opened fire on them.
The petition, which was created by one Silas Ojo, sought to generate 100,000 signatures. According to information obtained from the UK parliament’s website, any petition signed by over 100,000 individuals will be considered for discussion. Part of the petition read, “There have been deeply concerning reports of a Nigerian police force unit engaging in illegal activities and human rights abuses, and there have also been reports of police firing at protestors calling for SARS to be disbanded.
“Implement sanctions against the Nigerian Government and officials. 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 by the Nigerian police. Deploying sanctions would provide accountability for and be a deterrent to anyone involved in violations of human rights.”
Nigerians, especially the youths, had taken to the streets in protest over violations of human rights and extrajudicial killing by police personnel, specifically those of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).