NIGERIANS on social media have submitted several takes since the United Kingdom (UK) parliament on Monday debated imposing sanctions against Nigerian officials alleged to have been responsible for using excessive force on peaceful #EndSARS protesters.
Dwelling on the use of brutal force by the Nigerian military on protesters, members of the UK parliament advocated for sanctions against the Nigerian government – a debate that has pushed many young Nigerians to question why the National Assembly is yet to initiate any of such discourse.
In the UK, petitions that carry at least 10,000 signatures get a response from the government and petitions that garner up to 100,000 signatures are considered for debate in Parliament. No such law applies in Nigeria.
Over 220,000 people had signed a petition, asking the UK government to impose sanctions on the Nigerian government for human rights violations perpetrated by men of the Nigerians Army and the controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a rogue police unit.
Theresa Villiers MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, opened the debate, drawing focus on the deeds of SARS officials against Nigerian citizens.
“This petition is being prompted by the disturbing event in Nigeria in recent weeks. The SARS unit has a deeply controversial reputation. Reports of violence and human rights abuses by SARS date back to several years but these latest protests follow a video in October which many believe shows a man being killed by SARS officers,” she said.
The MPs submitted that government officials responsible for the abuse of human rights in the country should be denied the opportunity to enjoy amenities in the UK.
In response, Nigerians on social media praised the efforts of the UK parliament.
Tope Akinyode, a lawyer, in a post on Twitter said: “In one day, the UK Parliament did more than Nigeria‘s Senate, House of Rep, EFCC, IGP, & ICPC combined together. In one day, the UK parliament destroyed Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign of 5 years & exposed the high-ranking corruption profile of Gen. Gowon. I’m still in shock.”
Another Twitter user identified as Ambrosia Ijebu question why the UK parliament was taking more stringent actions, while the National Assembly remains quiet about the demand for an end to police brutality.
“How can the UK Parliament be showing more care and concern for Nigerians than the highly paid GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA itself??? Are they not embarrassed???,” Ijebu asked in a post shared on his Twitter page.
Tola Onayemi, another Twitter user advocated for laws that empower Nigerians to drive policy change and hold the gvoernment accountable for its actions.
“Nigeria actually needs laws that empower citizens to hold government accountable & demand specific government actions in same way UK parliament had to discuss #EndSARS in Nigeria because a specific number of people signed a petition. Our laws should give powers to the citizens,” Onayemi shared in a post.
Sharing an opposing view, a Twitter user identified as Cyril Emeka slammed the action by the UK parliament.
He said: “What an insult.. Please Nigeria should sanction the UK parliament for even debating this issue. Then we should seize all their assets here in Nigeria. Then lastly we must ban Queen Elizabeth from entering Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, Kate Osamor, member of the United Kingdom parliament, has described Lai Mohammed, Nigerian minister of information and culture’s response to the investigation by CNN on the shootings of unarmed #ENDSARS protesters by operatives of the Nigerian Army as undemocratic conduct.
“The Minister for the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture went on record to state that the CNN reporting of the massacre was “fake news”. That is undemocratic conduct that needs to be called out,” she said.