Following the indictment of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters, Nigeria risks arms embargo from the United States.
Already, the United States, the United Nations, the United Kingdom and Amnesty International have called on the Nigerian government to ensure that the panel’s report is handled transparently even as the military and the Federal Government await the release of the White Paper.
The Nigerian military and its current use of arms are subject to the Leahy vetting, an American rights law that prohibits the United States government from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.
During the Goodluck Jonathan administration, and under the Obama administration, the United States had placed Nigeria on arms embargo, an action that had frustrated Nigeria’s campaign against terror.
President Donald Trump, was later to lift the sanctions and the US began selling arms to Nigeria, including 12 Super Tucano aircraft.
Reuters, had earlier in the year, reported that the United States Congress had initiated plans to impose an arms embargo on Nigeria.
Leader of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda, in a statement on Wednesday, called for rights accountability.
The caucus noted: “It is our expectation that he (Blinken) would use his visit to address the growing human rights abuses, increasing threats to democracy, insecurity and corruption in Nigeria.
“Just this week, a Brigadier-General was killed by ISWAP and this is in addition to the countless numbers of soldiers, who have been killed or grievously injured with the weightless and worthless remark of getting to the root of the matter.
“We note that the insistence of the Government of the United States that all strategic military, anti-terrorism and counter insurgency engagements must be in accord with the Leahy laws.”
The caucus further urged the US, through Blinken, to “impress on the Nigerian government, as an act of principle, to stay within the realm of prohibition by not deploying received military assistance against citizens, who embark on legitimate and constitutional agitation, including agitation for self-determination and secession, which are legitimate aspirations under our laws and treaties entered into by Nigeria.”
The statement further read, “Secretary Blinken should as a matter of urgency hold the Nigerian government to account for the wanton assaults on rights, abuse of state power, systematic use of state violence to suppress peaceful protesters, particularly activists of the #EndSARS movement and campaigners for self-determination, extrajudicial killings, intimidation of the judiciary; and declare to this government that abuses of human rights have consequences.”