United Kingdom Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson has visited the Ministry of Police Affairs in Abuja “to discuss the democratic right to peaceful demonstrations and the need for demonstrable reform in Policing in Nigeria”.
The UK envoy opened up on her visit to the Nigerian authorities in response to the tweet by the Ministry of Police Affairs that read “It was great playing host to United Kingdom Deputy High Commissioner H. E, Gill Atkinson this afternoon. It was an opportunity to share notes on Police Reforms, internal security and good governance”.
The UK has become the first foreign government to openly engage with Nigerian authorities on the #EndSARS protest that is in its 13th day. Many say the intervention by the UK signals the beginning of foreign governments putting pressure of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to take actions that will end the street protests which will by Wednesday be heading into the third week. Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama is already scheduled to meet with Heads of Foreign Missions in the country on Tuesday to officially brief them on the position of the Federal Government on the matter.
Meanwhile, Nigerian-born member of the British Parliament, Kemi Badenoch has come under attack over what the UK Government or she is doing to help with the #EndSARS protests in the country. In her response, she tweeted “Our High Commissioner, @CatrionaLaing1 has supported calls for police reform, asked the security services to respect the right of Nigerians to protest peacefully and directly raised these issues with the Nigerian govt. UK govt welcomes @MBuhari’s decision to disband FSARS”.
Badenoch explains that the “UK govt supported a roundtable meeting on FSARS reform back in 2018 and helped the National Human Rights Commission to hold a public hearing on FSARS abuses in 2019….But as you and I know, the problem is much deeper than this. Back in 2006, on a DfID review, I learned of some appalling human rights abuses. Young men picked up by police and kept in jail for many years, not just without trial but without being charged. AWFUL stuff”.
In her personal capacity, she says “Actually, I spoke to the Foreign Sec about #EndSars last week and also to @JamesDuddridge, Africa minister. We’ve been on this saga loooong before the protests started”. She adds that “I have friends and family out there taking part in these protests and get day by day updates. My solidarity of course is with them. As for my own unpleasant encounters with Nigerian police…that’s a story for another day”.
MediaDimensions can also confirm thatu President Buhari’s close London friend and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has sent a message to him. Though details are still unknown, the Special Envoy of the Anglican leader who delivered the message to President Buhari at the Presidential Villa amid the #EndSARS nationwide protests is Rt. Reverend Precious Omuku.
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