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  • The US may stop selling arms to Nigeria over alleged protesters’ killings by soldiers

Nigeria, now risks an arms embargo from the US following the indictment of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on SARS Related Abuses and other matters.

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The 309-page report stated, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a massacre in context.”

While indicting the soldiers and the police, the panel stated that it unraveled the fact that after the personnel of the Nigerian Army exited the scene, the Nigeria Police Force followed up with the killing of the protesters, shooting directly at those fleeing, who ran into shanties and the lagoon.

It recommended that all army officers, excluding Major General Omata, and men of the Nigerian Army deployed in the Lekki tollgate should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action, stripped of their ranks, and dismissed as they were not fit and proper to serve in any public or security service of the nation.

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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.

An arms embargo had earlier been placed on Nigeria, which prevented the country from effectively pursuing the war against terror during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

However, during the administration of former American President, Donald Trump, the embargo was lifted and the US began selling arms to Nigeria, including 12 Super Tucano aircraft.

The US, however, warned that the arms and the soldiers being trained would be subject to Leahy vetting, meaning that military assistance could be discontinued. Earlier in the year, Reuters had reported that the United States Congress had initiated plans to impose an arms embargo on Nigeria.


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In an email chat with The PUNCH on Wednesday, the Deputy Director for Advocacy and Government Relations for Amnesty International USA, Mr. Adotei Akwei, said he had written to the US Congress to implement the Leahy laws against Nigeria.

Akwei welcomed the report of the panel, adding that it confirmed what Amnesty had always been saying about the #EndSARS protests.

He said, “While we welcome this report, we are also painfully aware that other investigations into abuses by the Nigerian security forces have also confirmed abuses, called for reform and accountability, and have resulted in no action whatsoever.

“We will wait to see what the response is from the Buhari administration, but until then, we still call for robust implementation of the Leahy laws in regards to the Nigerian military.”

Hammed Zubair


posted 2021-11-18 07:51:10

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