The caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives has hailed the timing of the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to Nigeria.
The caucus, in a statement by its leader, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) on Wednesday, said Mr Blinken must use the visit to “address the growing human rights abuses, increasing threats to democracy, insecurity, and corruption in Nigeria.”
Mr Blinken is currently in Kenya and scheduled to visit Nigeria and Senegal as part of his Africa tour.
“The US Secretary of State 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,” the statement reads in part.
The lawmakers of the main opposition party also flayed the Buhari administration for not maximising the “strategic military and counter-insurgency assistance from the United States.”
The group stated that the country cannot afford to be losing men to terrorists when it could ask for the assistance of the US government.
“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,” the caucus said.
The visits of the U.S. Secretaries of State to Nigeria have become somewhat controversial in recent times.
In 2015, the visit of former Secretary, John Kerry, was controversial as it was alleged to have swayed the electorate in favour of the opposition.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan had in his book blamed former U.S. President Barrack Obama and Mr Kerry for his defeat at the poll in 2015.
Mr Blinken is coming in the wake of the release of the report of the Lagos State #EndSARS panel. The report indicted the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force in the Lekki Tollgate shooting.
The United States, through its diplomatic mission in Nigeria, had called for the implementation of the report of the panel.
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