Members of the Parliament will hold a debate on
Magintsky sanctions and human rights abuses today
(Wednesday) at the Westminster Hall.
The debate which will start at 2:30 pm (1.30 pm Nigerian
time) will be led by parliamentarian Chris Bryant.
In October 2020, a petition was filed which condemned the
illegal activities of the now disbanded unit of the Nigeria
Police force, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which led
to a protest and consequent shooting of peaceful
protesters by members of Nigeria’s security force.
The petitioners argued that deploying sanctions against
the government would serve as a deterrent to anyone
involved in human rights abuses.
It reads, “Implement sanctions against the Nigerian
Government and officials
The Government should explore using the new sanctions
regime that allows individuals and entities that violate
human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose
sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and
police force involved in any human rights abuses by the
”There have been deeply concerning reports of a Nigerian
police force unit (SARS) engaging in illegal activities and
human rights abuses, and there have also been reports of
police firing at protestors calling for SARS to be
“Deploying sanctions would provide accountability for and
be a deterrent to anyone involved in violations of human
All petitions run for six months and by the time the
petition closed, it had gathered 221,258 signatures and
the United Kingdom government responded on November
Responding in a statement issued by the Foreign,
Commonwealth & Development Office, the government
said it is concerned by violence during the protests and
was waiting on the outcome of Nigerian investigations into
reports of police brutality.
The response stated, “The UK Government is deeply
concerned by violence during recent protests in Nigeria,
which tragically claimed lives. Our thoughts are with the
families of all those affected.
“The Foreign Secretary issued a statement on 21 October
calling for an end to the violence and for the Nigerian
Government to urgently investigate reports of brutality by
its security forces and hold those responsible to account.
“The Minister for Africa tweeted on 16 October, noting that
the Nigerian people’s democratic and peaceful calls for
reforms, and again on 21 October, encouraging the
Nigerian authorities to restore peace and address
concerns over brutality towards civilians.
“He reiterated these messages when he spoke to Foreign
Minister (Geoffrey) Onyeama on 23 October. The British
High Commissioner in Abuja has also raised the protests
with representatives of the Nigerian Government and will
continue to do so.
“We welcome President Buhari’s decision to disband the
Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and the
establishment of judicial panels of inquiry to investigate
alleged incidents of brutality by the security services.
“They must investigate all incidents, including in Lagos,
fully. The Minister for Africa tweeted on 29 October
stressing the importance of the police and military’s
cooperation with the panels. He raised this, and the need
for the panels to urgently start investigations, when he
spoke to the Governor of Lagos on 11 November.
“The UK Government will continue to work with the
Nigerian Government and international and civil society
partners to support justice, accountability and a more
responsive policing model in Nigeria.
“We will continue to push for the Nigerian security
services to uphold human rights and the rule of law,
investigate all incidents of brutality, illegal detentions and
use of excessive force, and hold those responsible to
“On 6 July, the Government established the Global Human
Rights sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament
under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.
“In a statement to Parliament, the Foreign Secretary set
out in full the scope of the UK’s new Global Human Rights
sanctions regime. He announced the first tranche of
designations, as well as the Government’s approach to
“This sanctions regime will give the UK a powerful new
tool to hold to account those involved in serious human
rights violations or abuses.
“The sanctions regime is not intended to target individual
countries. It will allow for sanctions to be imposed on
individuals and entities involved in serious human rights
violations or abuses around the world.
“We will continue to consider potential designations under
the Global Human Rights sanctions regime. It is
longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions
designations as to do so could reduce the impact of the
“The UK Government will keep all evidence and potential
listings under close review.”