Contrary to the diplomatese that has been thrust of the British High Commission in Abuja dealings with the Federal Government, its cables to London have been telling a different story of a creeping
Minister at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Wendy Morton, said the reports of intimidation of #EndSARS protesters were worrying.
“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 a British Minister, Wendy Morton, disclosed at a United Kingdom Parliament disclosed on Monday.
Among other recommendations after the session was that sanctions be rolled out against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari over the handling of the #EndSARS protests nationwide.
Some of the recommended sanctions on government officials and security agents were visa bans freezing of assets and stopping the funding and training for the Nigeria Police Force.
The debate on Nigeria in the parliament followed a petition by Silas Ojo which had more than 200,000 signatures.
The debate by members of the Petitions Committee, started with Theresa Villiers, a member of the British Conservative Party, at the Westminster Hall, 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 explain the role of the government in training security agents who end up abusing the rights of Nigerian citizens.
Kate Osamor, the MP for Edmonton noted, “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 said Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was clearly undemocratic in his description of what happened at the Lekki Toll Gate.
She berated the UK government for continuing to sell weapons and provide training to SARS personnel despite the fact that Amnesty International and other rights groups had accused the now disbanded unit of extra-judicial killings.
Member of Parliament for West Ham, Lyn Brown, described as unfortunate Nigerian Government’s description of protesters as sponsors of terrorism and going ahead to freeze their accounts and blaming them for the increase in food prices.
Responding on behalf of the UK government, the MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, Wendy Morton, revealed that the UK government was in touch with Professor Ibrahim Gambari, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Despite the recommendations, Morton said, “It is a long-standing practice not to speculate on future sanctions as it could reduce the impact of the designations”.