Re: 23rd November 2020, parliamentary debate for sanctions against Nigerian Government (Case Ref: GT43763)
Dear Gareth Thomas,
I am a constituent of Harrow West, and have shown support to the Labour Party in elections in the past, including the General election of 2019, I wanted to visit your office to discuss with you today, but was unable to get through to anyone by phone.
I am a British-Nigerian and I am deeply concerned at brutality of the Nigerian government against Nigerian civilians on home soil.
After many years of various corrupt administrations that care little for the wellbeing of Nigerian citizens, misappropriation of government funds, execution of numerous acts of violence and deprivation of the human rights of Nigerians, the Nigerian citizens began a peaceful protest for change in Nigeria.
It started with the (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) Police unit also known as SARS. SARS were and are still a corrupt police unit, that regularly murder, rape and commit robberies during patrols in Nigerian neighbourhoods. Their violent crimes are often motivated by financial gain as their wages are so low. Their brutality against the Nigerian people goes unchecked and no-one has been held accountable.
In response to the #EndSARS protests the Nigerian government announced the “disbandment” of SARS on 11th October. The Nigerian citizens knew the announcement was meaningless, the government had said the same during times of public outcry prior to this, but nothing had changed. This was the fourth time such an announcement was made.
So the Nigerian citizens continued their peaceful protests, which consisted of music, prayer, vigils, sit-ins and marches in various cities. Once such protest took place at Lekki, Lagos. Nigerian people sat on the ground with each other in protest as they had on numerous occasions in this period.
On the 20th of October 2020, the Nigerian government deployed the Nigerian Military against peaceful protesters demonstrating a sit in at Lekki Toll Gate.
All the CCTV cameras in the toll gate area had been disconnected and removed prior, and the power to the area was cut as soon as the Military arrived in their vehicles.
The Nigerian army and police (including the infamous SARS unit) were given clearance by the government to fire lethal rounds on peaceful protesters as they prayed and sang while sitting at Toll Gate. The shooting began at 6.40pm and lasted until 8.20pm. It is not known exactly how many people were murdered that night. But they were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. Nigeria killed its own family that night.
War Dogs Soldiers carried away the bodies of the people they murdered in a bid to cover up the event. They also denied passage to paramedics and ambulances on their way to attend to those who were wounded on the scene. Survivors ran carrying away the wounded on foot and in the few vehicles offered by those with access to their own cars.
The initial response of the Nigerian government and military was to deny the event ever took place, and brand the event as “Fake news” despite numerous images and video footage of the event and the aftermath recorded by surviving protesters widely cirulating online at home and abroad. Then this statement was recanted and instead, “something” happened, but the military was never involved. Then, the military were present, but never fired a shot. Then, they fired shots, but they were only blanks. Then, they fired live rounds, but only into the air and not at protesters.
Bullet casings found at the scene matched that of live rounds supplied to the Nigerian military by the United Kingdom between 2005 and 2015.
The Judicial panel of inquiry was tasked with investigating the massacre, and their investigation led them to believe that the Ikoyi Military Hospital Mortuary required a visit to determine how many bodies of the murdered protesters were being hidden there. Upon arrival, despite properly identifying themselves, they were denied access to the mortuary. The same occured at other key locations of interest during the inquiry.
The bodies of those murdered during the massacre at Lekki are still ‘missing’.
There are numerous accounts of Nigerians being sent threats and attempted bribes by officials, police sent out to arrest and detain journalists without charges for days on end, seizing passports of lawyers representing protesters and freezing the bank accounts of protesters.
The Nigerian Government manipulated the narrative of what happened at Lekki to protect their own interests at the expense of Nigerian people. And people are dying, their human rights are being denied.
We need you to not only attend this debate, but vote in favour of any and every sanction against the Nigerian government. We want you to vote in favour of sanctions to ban all travel for Nigerian government and military officials (including medical and educational travel), ban and/or void all visas, sieze all properties (or any other assets) and finally, freeze all financial accounts of Nigerian government and military officials and their family members.
Without these sanctions the Nigerian government cannot be held accountable for their crimes and this cannot be accepted. Failure to act in such a desperate time can only be taken to mean that the UK is complicit with these atrocities.
I implore that you take action on our behalf as our elected representative
The world watches.
My address and contact number are below