Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The federal government has said that the decision of the United States Government and United Kingdom to impose visa restriction on anyone that undermine the democratic process in the country ahead of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo State is disrespectful to the sovereignty of Nigeria.
The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ferdinand Nwonye, in a statement issued Friday, said it should be noted that there were ample provisions in the country’s laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
He stated: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian Government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners, specifically the US and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.
“They have also expressed their intention to take punitive measures against those they decide will be involved in what they termed as ‘undermining democracy’.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud. It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.”
Nwoye stressed that that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commissions.
He noted that the federal government, and especially the President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
Nwoye noted that the President had continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee.
He added, “While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with our relevant agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.”