Election: US restricts Visa on violators of Kogi, others in Nigeria

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The United States has imposed additional visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi, Bayelsa State elections, in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections. In a statement released by the Spokesperson of the States Department, Morgan Ortagus on Monday, she said the decision reflects US commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.

According to him, “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, US urged 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.

“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles. The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people”, she said Meanwhile, in a statement on January 24, 2019, the U.S. Government said it would consider consequences, which including visa restrictions for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organizing election-related violence. In July 2019, it announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who undermined the February and March 2019 elections.

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