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Nigeria Risks US Arms Embargo Over Alleged Protesters’ Killings By Soldiers

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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.”

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While indicting the soldiers and the police, the panel stated that it unravelled 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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In an interview with The PUNCH, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof Bola Akinterinwa, said Nigeria could face not just an arms embargo, but sanctions.

Akinterinwa stated, “It goes beyond an embargo. There are many ways foreign countries respond to situations like this. If you use the US as an example, I can assure you that all those suspected government officials will be sanctioned in different ways, either by visa bans, withdrawal of privileges, or initiate a trial for them abroad.

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“Some months ago, some US congressmen said they should not supply the Tucano ordered by Nigeria and they should stop selling arms to Nigeria. In this kind of situation, the likelihood of further sale of arms to Nigeria is remote. They are currently considering that.”

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A retired Nigerian diplomat, Ambassador Joe Keshi, who served in the US, Togo, Ethiopia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Namibia and Sierra Leone, said indeed, Nigeria risked another arms embargo with the damning report on the killing of the #EndSARS protesters.

Keshi stated that the Nigeria police needed urgent reforms, including learning how to handle protesters.

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He said the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, goofed by calling on Nigerians not to disparage the military when he could have just promised to investigate the issues raised in the report.

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The retired diplomat said the Federal Government should admit that mistakes were made and apologise rather than attempting to pick holes in the panel’s report.

“That is true (arms embargo). And that is why it is so sad the way the authorities are reacting to this report. There should be a simple admission that a mistake was made,” Keshi said.

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However, a former Deputy Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, said it would be too early to say if Nigeria would face an arms embargo.

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Ejiofor said the international community would be watching to see how Nigeria would react to the report.

“Let us keep our fingers crossed. Let us wait to see how things go,” he said.

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PDP Reps ask Blinken to probe violence against #EndSARS protesters, others

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Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives has said the planned visit by the United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to Nigeria is to address corruption, insecurity and human rights abuses under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

It urged the visitor to ask questions about abuse of state power and use of violence to suppress peaceful protesters, particularly activists of the #EndSARS movement and campaigners for self-determination.

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The leader of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda, in a statement on Wednesday, also called on the Federal Government to assure Blinken that it would not use facilities provided by the US against Nigerians agitating legitimately.

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Russia Promises To Support Nigeria Combat Terrorism

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President Putin disclosed this when he received the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Professor Abdullahi Y. Shehu, who presented his Letter of Credence to him at the Grand Kremlin Palace.

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On specific areas of bilateral cooperation with Nigeria, President Putin assured of “very promising expansion on substantive dialogue on topical issues related to maintaining stability in the world hydrocarbon markets, combating terrorism and countering religious extremism.”

He said his country was open to mutually beneficial partnership with all countries without exception but based on equality and respect for each other’s interests, while observing the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of each other.

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Putin declared that Russia was ready for multifaceted interfaces for mutual interests with the countries that their new envoys had come to represent in Russia.

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Source:- NaijaOnPoint

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Kidnappers’ Den Discovered Behind A Police Checkpoint Along Auchi-Abuja Highway

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The discovery was made on Thursday December 2. Prior to this, it was believed a mad man lived in the building.

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Items recovered from the building include gun bullets, tear-gas canisters and water.

Watch the video below…

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Source:- NaijaOnPoint

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