The United Kingdom (UK) Parliament has resolved to sanction Nigerian government officials who oversaw the shootings at Lekki on 20 October 2020, but Nigerians are divided on what that entails.
While many are glad that the government is being held accountable for an atrocity it continues to deny, others are equally concerned that Nigeria’s inability to check its own excesses through the proper governing institutions may spell doom for the country.
Nigeria’s own parliament is yet to hold a proper independent sitting to discuss the tragedy that followed the #EndSARS protests and hold the persons responsible to account. It is unlikely that it will.
The jubilation that followed a now-viral video of UK parliamentarian Tom Tugendhat declaring the need to sanction Nigerian leaders who, “deny their people the rights they come to the UK to enjoy,” is understandable. Specifically, because Nigerians have witnessed similar instances of state violence that went unaddressed by the Nigerian state. The Oyigbo massacre is one of the most recent, and its story is only just coming out.
On the other hand, that Nigeria, a sovereign country by all indications, is unable to handle its own affairs without foreign meddling begs the question, is Nigeria a sovereign nation or are we simply playing at sovereignty?
It is clear that had the Nigerian parliament done its job the involvement of the UK parliament would not have been necessary. As it stands, the former didn’t happen and we are now faced with the latter in the quest of Nigerians to get justice.
This doesn’t also change the fact that our consistent faith in international organisations (governmental and non-governmental) as well as other countries to help our leaders and ELECTED representatives do the right thing is worrisome. It is even arguable that the threats on visa ban by these ‘people’ is contributing to a number of credible elections we’ve seen in the recent past.
What this does, if nothing else, is that it shows Nigerians what it is like to have a functional government that is passionate about the progress of the people it governs, even if only by proxy.
Regardless of how this all ends, it is okay to celebrate that we have someone somewhere that can act as a check to this political class who would neither impeach themselves, resign, allow for free and fair elections (on their volition) or even allow citizens to protest without been shot at, when all is not well.