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PDP Reps ask Blinken to address Nigeria’s rights abuses, insecurity

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives is backing the visit of the United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to Nigeria. The caucus said the visit, coming ahead of the 2023 general elections, is timely and urged him to use the visit to address the growing human rights abuses, increasing threats to democracy, insecurity and corruption in the country.

In a statement by its leader, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), the caucus said the US is a strategic partner to Nigeria. The statement said: “It is our fervent hope that Bliken will engage the government’s failure to address the increasing terrorist attacks in Nigeria. “Just this week, a Brigadier General (Dzarma Zirkusu) was killed by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and this is in addition to the countless numbers of soldiers who have been killed or grievously injured with the weightless and worthless remark of getting to the root of the matter. “Our country cannot afford the luxury of losing military officers to terrorists when it can seek strategic military and counter insurgency assistance from the United States that has for many years built strategic and sustained military and intelligence frameworks for fighting terrorism.

“We note that the insistence of the government of United States that all strategic military, anti-terrorism and counter insurgency engagements must be in accord with the Leahy laws.” The caucus further urged the United States to impress on the Nigerian government as an act of principle to stay within the realm of prohibition by not deploying received military assistance against citizens who embark on legitimate and constitutional agitations, including agitations for selfdetermination and secession, which are legitimate aspirations under our laws and treaties entered into by Nigeria.

The group said: “Beyond all of this, and as strategic partners, with shared vision and future for peace, we are convinced that the shared vision and future are impossible without the United States showing more than a passing and curious interest on respect for human rights. “The nexus between human rights and peace is beyond contest. Under this government, human rights’ abuses have become the spur of violent conflicts, halting economic progress, growth and development. “Bliken should as a matter of urgency hold the Nigerian government to account for the wanton assaults on rights, abuse of state power, systematic use of state violence to suppress peaceful protesters, particularly activists of the #EndSARS Movement and campaigners for self-determination, extra-judicial killings, intimidation of the judiciary; and declare to this government that abuses of human rights have consequences.”

 

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