By Bridget Chiedu Onochie
Abuja — The outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, Thursday, insisted that both the members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria otherwise known as Shi’ite as well as the security agencies in the country must tow the path of rule of law in their engagements.
Arkwright spoke during his last media engagement with journalists in Abuja to wrap up the visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Arkwright, who was reacting to the regular clashes between the Shiite and security forces, stated that although he was not in a position to advise the Nigerian government, his view was that both parties must obey the rule of the land in the course of their activities.
“I don’t give advice to the Nigerian government. What I said on the question of the IMN in the past, and I am happy to repeat it, is that just as IMN must obey the rule of law by peaceful demonstration, it is also important for the security forces in Nigeria to respect the rule of law,” Arkwright.
The High Commissioner regretted the recent clash between the Shiite and the government that resulted in the death of some protesting members of Shiite, stressing that it was unfortunate that it happened.
He added that since Nigerian government claimed to be investigating the incidence, he would rather not be in a hurry to apportion blame on any side.
He also hoped that an independent report will analyse the entire scenario with a view to making recommendations on the way forward for the government.
“But until that report is out, it is very difficult for me to comment on it,” Arkwright added.
Recalling his three years tour of duty in Nigeria, Arkwright stated that his main challenge was how to understand what was going on in the country.
He said he visited 30 out of the 36 states of the federation and that his major memory is about the diversity of the country, the culture and the warmth he received from Nigerian people irrespective of tribe and culture.
On the business side of the royal visit of Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the High Commissioner stated that Prince Charles was more interested in sustainable investment in Nigeria.