Recall that the United States Secretary of State was in Nigeria on Friday. He visited the president of Nigeria as well as the vice president. During his visit, a lot was talked about between him and Nigerian leaders. The major discussions they had were on the issues of insecurity going on in Nigeria.
The vice president of Nigeria used the opportunity to thank the United States of America for the ceaseless support to Nigeria in the fight against terrorists. He also appreciate the United States for their support in the fight against covid- 19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the United States has once again warned that it may stop rendering military assistance to Nigeria if the country fails to protect human rights.
Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State disclosed this an interview with CNN.
Bliken urged the Muhammadu Buhari- led government to sanction any individuals found to have violated human rights during the October 2020 #EndSARS protests when the white paper on the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters is ready.
He added that the US might evoke the Leahy Law on military aid against Nigeria if the country failed to protect human rights.
The Leahy Law is an American rights ordinance that prohibits the US government from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.
Asked during the CNN interview whether the US had changed its conclusion in the light of the panel’ s report, Blinken said he was waiting for the full report to be released by the Lagos State Government.
He, however, argued that the most important thing was ensuring that those found wanting face the full weight of the law.
He said, ” But a couple of things are really important. As I said, the report itself, done by the state government, but then once it’ s out, for there to actually be action on the basis of the report, action as necessary by the states, action by the Federal Government, and action in the sense of two things.
” First, making sure that based on what is documented to have happened, it won’ t happen again– so there may be reforms that are necessary– and building or rebuilding trust between the citizens and the security services, between citizens and the state. That is an obligation of both the state government and the Federal Government.
” Second is accountability. If there are individuals that as it emerges from this report who are responsible for committing abuses, there has to be accountability in terms of those individuals. That too is vital to rebuilding trust between citizens and the state and the security services. ”
On what the US would do if human rights abuses continued, he responded, ” And, of course, we also have laws in place– the Leahy laws, for example– that make sure that if there are units that have committed abuses, we’ re not going to provide equipment to those units. ”
When asked if the Leahy law would be imposed on Nigeria, the Secretary of State responded, ” Well, we look in any instance if and if there are credible allegations that prove, that we believe meet the standard of the law, yes, of course, we’ ll apply the law. ”
And on if the US government would bow to pressure by the US Congress to impose an arms embargo on Nigeria amid incessant allegations of human rights abuse, Blinken said it would all depend on Nigeria’ s response.
He explained that the assistance being given to the Nigerian military was not only hardware but training to tackle terrorism and criminal activities.