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Shi’ite crisis: British envoy insists on rule of law

Shi’ite crisis: British envoy insists on rule of law

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Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

Outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, yesterday, insisted  that both the Shi’ite and security agencies in the country have to take the path of rule of law in their engagements.

Arkwright stated this during his last media engagement with journalists in Abuja to wrap up the visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Responding to a question on the Shi’ite, security forces clashes, Arkwright said he does not advise the Nigerian government.

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Arkwright however said he has his views and he had made them known.

“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 the IMN must obey the rule of law by peaceful demonstration and right to demonstrate peacefully, peacefully is the key word there.

“So, of course, it is important for the security forces in Nigeria also to respect the rule of law,” Arkwright said.

On the recent clashes between the Shi’ite and security forces in Abuja, Arkwright said it was very unfortunate that it happened.

He added that since the government has said it is investigating the incidence, he was not going to rush to judgement about how to apportion blame on one side or the other.

“But clearly, these were serious incidence and I do hope that the independent report that concerns the government analysis of that results to recommendations which the government will follow up.

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 said his main challenge was how to understand what was going on in the country.

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Arkwright said he visited 30 out of the 36 states in the country, saying that his main impression is about the diversity of the country, the culture, experience and the wonderful people he met all over Nigeria, regardless of where the came from.

On the business side of the royal visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the High Commissioner said Prince Charles was more interested in sustainable investment in Nigeria.

He recalled the recent visit of the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, which he said, was a ministerial visit to talk about business opportunities in the country.

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