US Imposes Visa Bans On Election Violence Sponsors

Tayo Olanipekun

The United States will start to impose visa restrictions on Nigerians found to be responsible for activities capable of undermining democracy in Nigeria.

This is in furtherance to a joint statement it issued with the United Kingdom on January 24, 2019 before the general elections in Nigeria, as reported by National Wire.

A statement from the Office of the Spokesperson of the U.S Department Of State on Wednesday said the measure would be taken against individuals it did not name but who have operated with “impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people” and undermined democratic principles and human rights.

“The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government,” it further explained.

The country, however, commended Nigerians who participated peacefully in the February and March 2019 elections and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes.

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“As Nigeria marks the twentieth anniversary of a return to democratic rule this year, we remain committed to working together to continue to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations,” it noted.

The US said it condemned those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process as it emphasized that the sanction reflects the Department of State’s commitment to “working with the Nigerian government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”

In a January 24 statement, the U.S. government said that it would consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organizing election-related violence.

Many Nigerians in recent time have experienced visa refusals from the US Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate in Lagos, with some with valid visas also being denied entry into the US.

National Wire has not been able to confirm if any of such ones were in any way involved in election related infractions.

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