#EndSARS: Freezing Of Assets, Visa Ban Loom For Lai Mohammed, Others As UK Lawmakers Recommend Sanctions

Freezing of assets, visa ban for some officials of the president Muhammadu Buhari government and security agents hang in the air as members of the United Kingdom Parliament on Monday condemned in strong terms the attack and intimidation of protesters who took part in the #EndSARS demonstrations.

Minister of information, Lai Mohammed was singled out for his undemocratic comments by the MP for Edmonton, Kate Osamor. She described as undemocratic, the claim by Mr. Mohammed, that the killings at the Lekki toll plaza was fake news.

The parliamentarians demanded sanctions on government officials and security agents such as visa ban, freezing of assets, and stopping the funding and training for the Nigeria Police Force.

The debate in Parliament at the Westminster Hall followed a petition started by Silas Ojo which had garnered over 200,000 signatures.

Theresa Villiers, a member of the British Conservative Party who served as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2019 to 2020 said, “I believe the petitioners have a credible case for the imposition of individualised sanctions such as travel bans and asset freezes.”

The Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet constituency said the UK Government must explain the role of the government in training security agents who end up abusing the rights of Nigerian citizens.

Osamor added, “The Nigerian government says that it has disbanded SARS but the corruption and brutality of the security forces continues. The Nigerian government’s violence against its own citizens appears only to be intensifying.”

Member of Parliament for West Ham, Lyn Brown, said it was unfortunate that the Federal Government went ahead to not only accuse protesters of sponsoring terrorism and freeze their accounts but also blamed them for the increase in food prices.

Responding on behalf of the UK government, the MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, Wendy Morton, who is also the Minister at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said the reports of intimidation of #EndSARS protesters were worrying.

According to Morton, the UK government was communicating with the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

He said,  “It is a long-standing practice not to speculate on future sanctions as it could reduce the impact of the designations,” Morton said.

“We are aware that some protesters have reported facing intimidation and the British High Commissioner in Abuja continues to raise our concerns about intimidation of civil society groups and peaceful protesters with the Nigerian government.”

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