#EndSARS: Don’t Brush Off Debate of UK Parliament, Former Foreign Minister Advises Nigeria Govt

Professor Bolaji Akinyemi

The Nigerian government has been advised not to dismiss the threat of sanctions by UK parliamentarians against top Nigerian officials and security agents involved in the alleged violation of #EndSARS protesters’ rights.The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama had played down the sanction threat by the parliamentarians, saying that legislators are not responsible for imposing sanctions on other nations.

A former Nigerian Minister of External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi has however advised the federal government to take advantage of the several available channels to lay their own side of the story before the United Kingdom’s House of Commons“It is true the British Parliament is not the ultimate but God helps a British minister who ignores the feelings on the floor of the commons.“Many ministers have come to grief by taking a lackadaisical attitude towards the view of parliament. So I wouldn’t brush off quite lightly the debate in the commons,” Professor Akinyemi said when he appeared on ARISE News.“The channels open to the Nigerian government are many,l; High Commissioner here to talk to the Director of Europe or to the Undersecretary or to the permanent secretary or to the Minister himself.“Then at the London end, our High commissioner there can book an appointment to go into the Foreign Office and see the officer dealing with Nigeria, the officer dealing with West Africa, the permanent secretary, the under permanent secretary and of course the Minister, so there are various channels,” he said.ARISE News had reported calls from the UK parliament for the British government to commence an investigation into human rights abuses by the Nigerian government and security agencies on citizens.The legislative arm had also demanded the UK government to consider imposing sanctions on officials who are found culpable, which could range from visa bans to assets freezing as contained in an e-petition upon which the parliament’s Monday debate was based.

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But Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister played down the threats of sanctions saying the position of the UK parliament over the alleged killing of unarmed protesters do not represent the stance of the British government.

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