UK LAWMAKERS URGES COMMONWEALTH TO INTERVENE IN FULANI HERDSMEN, BOKO HARAM, AND ISLAMIC MILITIA KILLINGS IN NIGERIA
The United Kingdom House of Lords has written to the Commonwealth to intervene in what it describes as "escalating violence" and attacks by Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen, and other Islamist militia in Nigeria's northern and central belt states.
In the letter addressed to the Secretary of Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, on September 14 2020, the UK lawmakers said Nigeria's failure to protect its citizens is a violation of Commonwealth Charter on Human rights.
Citing a report by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group, (APPG) and Amnesty International, the lawmakers said there are indications that some elements of the Nigeria Military and Government officials are indicted in the violence that has claimed the lives of thousands of Nigerian citizens.
Below are excerpts of the petition written by UK lawmakers to the Commonwealth:
We write to highlight urgent concerns about escalating violence in Nigeria, where attacks led by Boko Haram, Fulani herders' and other Islamist militia continue in northern and central-belt states, with reports of increasing violence in the south-east.
According to a report by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, entitled Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide?, thousands of civilians have been killed, and elements of the Nigerian Government may be complicit in violence.
The APPGs concerns a report by Amnesty International, We dry our tears: Addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria's conflict, which concludes that the Nigerian armed forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during their operations.
The Nigerian army's former Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma, whom some of us have met and spoken to, says the armed forces are "not neutral; they collude" in the ethnic cleansing in... riverine states" by Fulani herders. He insists that villagers must defend themselves because "depending on the armed forces" will result in them dying "one by one. The ethnic cleansing must stop."
The State's failure to protect its citizens is a clear breach of its obligations under the Commonwealth Charter in respect of human rights. There is now an urgent need (a) to ensure adequate protection and aid for those suffering the loss of family members and the destruction of their homes and livelihoods; and (b) to end impunity by ensuring that complaints related to human rights violations are promptly, independently and impartially investigated, and those responsible are held to account after fair trials.
We write, therefore, to ask whether you are able to respond on behalf of The Commonwealth and to raise these urgent concerns with the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. We would be very willing to meet in person (or perhaps more practically, online via zoom) to discuss how we might proceed.