Home News ENDSARS: Nigeria risks a US arms embargo following panel report

ENDSARS: Nigeria risks a US arms embargo following panel report

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Nigeria may be at risk of arms embargo based on the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters, which stated that at least nine persons were killed during the EndSARS protest at the Lekki Tollgate, Lagos on October 20, 2021.

The report stated that “The Panel finds that the mayhem and violence recorded in other parts of Lagos State did not happen at the Lekki Tollgate, so there was no need for any apprehension on the part of the government or the security agencies to seek to dispel that peaceful assembly, with soldiers bearing lethal weapons.

“The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a massacre in context.”

The report also indicted the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as an accomplice who took over from the Nigerian Army.
That the NPF “deployed its officers to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the 20th October 2020 and between that night and the morning of the 21st of October, 2020, its officer shot at, assaulted and battered unarmed protesters, which led to injuries and deaths. The police officers also tried to cover up their actions by picking up bullets.”

With the international actors including; United States, the United Nations, the United Kingdom and Amnesty International, watching and waiting for the release of the White paper and weighed in that the Nigerian government should ensure that the panel’s reports are handled transparently.

The Nigeria Armed forces are subject to Leahy vetting – a law that prohibits the US government from giving military assistance to countries who violate human rights with impunity.
During Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, an arms embargo was placed on Nigeria, which hampered the fight of the government against terrorism, the embargo was however lifted during Trump’s administration.

It recommended that all army officers, excluding Major General Omata, and men of the Nigerian Army deployed in the Lekki tollgate should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action, stripped of their ranks and dismissed as they were not fit and proper to serve in any public or security service of the nation.

According to The Punch, in an email chat with Mr Adotei AkweiIn, Deputy Director for Advocacy and Government Relations for Amnesty International USA said he had written to the US Congress to enact the Leahy laws against Nigeria.

Akwei who welcomed the report by the panel said it confirmed Amnesty’s words about the #EndSARS protests.

He said, “While we welcome this report, we are also painfully aware that other investigations into abuses by the Nigerian security forces have also confirmed abuses, called for reform and accountability and have resulted in no action whatsoever.

“We will wait to see what the response is from the Buhari administration, but until then, we still call for robust implementation of the Leahy laws in regards to the Nigerian military.”

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