Obey the rule of law, British envoy tells Shi’ites, security agencies

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Shi’ites protesting in Abuja, demanding the release of their leader, Sheik El-Zakzaky

The outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has called on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria  (Shi’ites) and security agencies to obey the rule of law in their activities.

He stated that the group  should exercise their rights to protest peacefully, adding that security agencies  should also respect the rule of law.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Thursday, Arkwright expressed hope that the move by the government  to  investigate  the clashes between  the group and security forces would  would help  handle such situations in the future.

He said, “Just as the IMN must obey the rule of law by using their rights to demonstrate peacefully, and the key word here is peacefully, so also it is important for the security forces in Nigeria to respect the rule of law.”

Arkwright said that the clashes between herdsmen and farmers were not based on religious.

He attributed the crisis to the issues of climate change and desertification, noting that  Tuesday’s  meeting between the visiting Prince of Wales, Prince Charles,  and traditional rulers had further confirmed the reasons for the crisis.

He said,  “This is a conflict that is driven by complex reasons of climate change, pressure on resources, land and desertification of Northern Nigeria.”

The envoy said population explosion management and sustainable economic development remained, among other things, the focal point of the British government’s engagement with Nigeria.

The envoy described his stay in Nigeria as memorable, adding that the UK government would continue to support the fight against corruption by the Federal Government.

Arkwright’s successor, Catriona Laing, is expected to resume in the country on November 26.

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