The United States, Monday says it has imposed additional visa restrictions on individuals for undermining democratic process during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State gubernatorial elections as well as the run-up to the September 19 and October 10 2020 Edo and Ondo Gubernatorial elections.
In a statement by State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, the U.S. said “these individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles”.
The Department of State emphasized that the additional visa restrictions are specific to certain individuals, who were not named, and not directed at the Nigerian people.
The statement reads: “The United States is a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy. We commend all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes. We remain committed to working together to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations. 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.
“This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights”, the statement noted.
“In a statement on January 24, 2019, the U.S. Government said we would consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organizing election-related violence.