The United States (U.S.) on Monday imposed visa restriction on top politicians and other categories of Nigerians said to have undermined the electoral process in some states.
The Department of State in a statement said those to be affected are individuals whose actions have undermined the democratic process during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
Also in the category are those behind violence in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election and the October 10 Ondo State governorship election, with US-based journalist, Jackson Ude claiming the governors of Kano and Kogi were among those banned.
ENEMIES OF STATE: Ganduje, Yeye Bello, banned. Can’t enter the U.S pic.twitter.com/vfV1RKQ6b9
— Jackson Ude (@jacksonpbn) September 14, 2020
The Department said on its website that: “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.”
The U.S. on January 24, last year, said it would consider visa restrictions for individuals responsible for undermining the democratic process or for organising election-related violence.
It said: “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 Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people.
“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.”