The United States Government has said it had imposed visa restrictions on election riggers in Nigeria.
According to a statement by spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, on Monday, Nigerians involved in undermining democracy during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa states elections have been sanctioned and those that will engage in rigging in the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo states elections, will also face same actions
However, the US Government did not name the individuals or say how many were affected by the visa restrictions.
Although elections have not yet held in Edo and Ondo states, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, imposed the visa restriction on these individuals due to their conduct in the run-up to the poll.
The statement reads,
“In July 2019, we announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who undermined the February and March 2019 elections. Today, the Secretary of State is imposing additional visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa states elections and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo states elections.
“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.
“The Department of State emphasises that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”
The US condemned the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process.
“As the Edo and Ondo off-cycle elections near, we urge all stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission, the political parties, and the security services, to uphold the tenets of democracy and facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, conducted in an appropriately transparent and non-violent manner,” the statement added.