After more than an hour of debate, the UK parliament recommended sanctions against Nigerian officials for the role they played in shooting at protesters at the Lekki tollbooth.
The debate on Monday was mooted in the wake of a petition seeking to impose sanctions on Nigerian government officials involved in the killing of peaceful protesters in Lekki on October 20.
Members of Parliament condemned the violence that erupted at the Lekki tollbooth in Lagos and insisted that Nigerian officials should not enjoy the freedoms in the UK that they deny their citizens at home.
The minister for Africa was absent from the process, but his representative said he will await the outcome of the judicial investigation panels on the shooting.
“Work is under way to consider how a global corruption sanctions regime could be added to the government arsenal,” said a representative of the Minister for Africa, James Duddridge.
“This government will continue to pressure the Nigerian government and its security services to uphold human rights and the rule of law, investigate all incidents of brutality, illegal detentions and use of excessive force, and hold those responsible to account.
“We will closely monitor the judicial panel of investigations and continue to advocate for investigations into police brutality. The government will consider its options as the panel’s work progresses. “
A particularly telling moment came when an MP urged his government to impose sanctions on Nigerians fleeing to the UK with ill-gotten wealth, citing the alleged looting of Nigeria’s Central Bank by Nigeria’s former military ruler Yakubu Gowon.
“We need to stop those who profit from the wealth of that great nation and hide it here. Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half the Central Bank, so they say, and moved to London, ”said the deputy. “We know that today, even now, in this great city of ours, there are people who have sadly snatched the Nigerian people and hidden their ill-gotten gains here.”
The petition, started by Silas Ojo, brought together more than 220,000 signatories, surpassing the 100,000 mark needed for a petition to be debated by lawmakers.
At the beginning of last month, thousands of Nigerians took to the streets to call for an end to police brutality and extrajudicial killings by the Special Anti-Theft Squad (SARS).
Protests in Lagos turned bloody on October 20 when soldiers clashed with peaceful protesters at the Lekki and Alausa tollbooths, killing at least 12 people, according to Amnesty International.