The Peoples Democratic Party Caucus in the House of Representatives says it welcomes the visit of the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Anthony Blinken, to Nigeria.
According to the caucus, the visit, coming ahead of the 2023 general elections, is timely and we expect that he would use his visit to address the growing human rights abuses, increasing threats to democracy, insecurity, and corruption in Nigeria.
In a statement signed by its leader Kingsley Chinda (PDP Rivers State), the caucus recognises that the United States is a strategic partner to Nigeria, saying it is their hope that Secretary Bliken will engage the government’s failure to address the increasing terrorist attacks in Nigeria.
It said “Just this week a Brigadier General was killed by 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 Government of the United States, through Secretary Bliken, 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 self-determination and secession, which are legitimate aspirations under our laws and treaties entered into by Nigeria.
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, sustainable development is only possible when human rights become the cornerstone of governance.
Under this government, human rights abuses have become the spur of violent conflicts, halting economic progress, growth and development,” it said.
Secretary 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.