Election Violence: SERAP Writes Biden, Seeks Visa Ban, Other Sanctions against Perpetrators

Udora Orizu in Abuja

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the United States President, Joe Biden to exercise his powers pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations 7750 and 8697 and the Immigration and Nationality Act to ban Nigerian officials, politicians and other perpetrators and sponsors of violence during the just concluded elections.

SERAP also urged Biden to use the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to block or revoke visas of anyone suspected to be responsible for cases of intimidation, harassment and violence during the elections, and to impose asset freezes and property sanctions on them and their families.
The letter followed reports of cases of election-related intimidation, harassment and violence in several states of the country, including in Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos, Edo, Ogun, Osun, Rivers, and Taraba states, and Abuja.

In the letter dated February, 25, 2023, and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation stated: “The imposition targeted sanctions against suspected perpetrators and sponsors of election-related violence in Nigeria would promote accountability, end impunity and deter human rights violations.

“Applying the presidential proclamations, Global Magnitsky Act, and Immigration and Nationality Act as recommended would be very helpful to the efforts to stop further violence before, during and after elections, facilitate free and fair elections, and encourage the people to exercise their right to vote.

“The recommended travel bans, asset freezes and property sanctions should also cover anyone who may perpetrate and sponsor violence and human rights crimes during the postponed elections in 141 polling units, and the governorship elections scheduled for March 2023. SERAP welcomes your government’s publicly expressed commitment to impose visa restrictions on officials, politicians and other perpetrators and sponsors of election-related intimidation, harassment, and violence. We urge you to include asset freezes and property sanctions on the list.”

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