Ahead of the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections, the United States government has Imposed additional visa restrictions on individuals who undermined democratic process or for organising election-related violence during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
It however added that the visa restriction were specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people.
The Spokesperson of the Department of State,
Morgan Ortagus, in a statement published on its website Monday, said the US was a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy, while also commending all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes.
Ortagus said the US remains committed to working together to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations.
The US recalled the statement it issued on January 24, 2019, where it considered consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence.
It stated: “We condemn the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process. As the Edo and Ondo State 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.
“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 State elections and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.
“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.”
The US government noted that its decision reflects its commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.