The United States of America and the United Kingdom have said anybody found responsible for causing violence during and after the 2019 general elections will face visa restrictions.
The two countries in a joint statement issued on Thursday in Abuja said the same measures may also be extended to family members of the perpetrators.
“We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process,” said the U.S.
This is as the U.K. also gave the consequences of electioneering violence to affect perpetrators in the areas of “eligibility to travel to the UK, their ability to access UK based funds or lead to prosecution under international law.”
The conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria is important not only for Nigeria, but for the African continent, the statement said.
The two countries emphasised that they have no interests in any of the contestants but the democratic process itself.
“We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process,” noted the U.S. in the statement, as the U.K. expressed its belief that “the Nigerian people should be able to choose their leaders in an environment free from hate speech and insecurity.”
They, however, said their countries and other democratic nations will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process.
“Extensive observation mission” for the forthcoming elections, including coordinating with the EU’s Election Observation Mission will also be deployed during the process, according to the U.K., which also pledged support for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)and the Nigerian civil society for the successful conduct of the elections.
“Our monitors will in particular be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media,” it added.
The U.S. also commended the candidates for signing peace pledges as well as for their commitment to a peaceful electoral process.