Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said the Federal Government has reached out to UK officials following threat of sanctions on Nigerian officials involved in shooting of unarmed protesters in Lagos State.
Onyeama disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday when he briefed newsmen at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
“The UK government has been briefed. There was UK Parliamentarian meeting and UK government, which acts for the United Kingdom, has also heard the side of the (Nigerian) government regarding everything that has happened.
“So, we have been in touch with them and engaging with them. As in every democracy, members of parliament are able to also able to air their view.
“What is important is that balanced picture is made available to them before they take any decision” he said.
In a related development, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has welcomed the resolution by the UK Parliament to impose sanctions on Nigerian officials.
In a statement on Wednesday by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Olongbondiyan, PDP called on other countries to imposed sanctions on Buhari’s administration officials involved in the shooting.
The party said: “We also call on other countries, including United States, France, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa among others to impose similar sanctions against indicted officials of the Buhari administration for human rights violations and crime against humanity.
“Such sanctions should also be imposed on officials indicted for undermining our democracy and electoral system.
“The international community must call out President Buhari, as the buck stops on his table, as the commander-in-chief, under whose watch, human rights violations including arbitrary arrests and detention in dehumanizing facilities, widespread extrajudicial killings, sudden disappearances of dissenting voices, disregard to rule of law, disobedience to court orders and foisting of siege mentality on the citizenry, have become the order of the day.
“Indeed, the manifest use of brute force including the deployment of the military with live ammunition, in addition to recruiting of armed thugs to attack and kill innocent Nigerian youths, who were in peaceful demonstration against widespread police brutality and other systemic injustices, underscores the horrible situation in Nigeria under President Buhari as detailed in earlier reports by Amnesty International and US Department of State among other international bodies.
“Is it not frightening that the Buhari Presidency has failed to come clean on who ordered the deployment of troops to Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, where unarmed demonstrators were shot and killed even while waving our national flag and singing our nation’s anthem?
“Is it not equally frightening that government has also failed to explain how armed thugs were seen being brought in security vans to unleash violence on demonstrators in Abuja and other parts of our country?
“Rather than providing answers to these troubling questions, the Federal Government is desperate to gag Nigerians, muzzle the press, shut down the social media and even threatening the international media including CNN for carrying out an investigative report on the Lekki killing, while its officials continue to make contradicting claims on the matter.
“Moreover, the administration had turned a deaf ear to the demand for an independent National Truth Commission on the killings. Such stance only points to desperation for a huge cover up in the face of demand for answers by Nigerians and the international community.”
The PDP urged the international community not to relent in standing for the Nigerian people at this critical time in the nation’s history, particularly in ensuring respect to the rights of citizens and the sanctity of Nigeria’s electoral system.