US declares visa restrictions on Nigerians for undermining democracy
The United States of America has declared a visa ban on individuals who have in one way or the other, undermined the democratic laws in Nigeria.
This is contained in a statement released on Monday by Morgan Ortagus, the US Department Spokesperson in Nigeria, who noted that the US is always committed to working together to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations.
The statement explained that the individuals are facing restriction because of 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, which it says have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.
“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.
“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.
“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 realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”
Nwada Ugochinyere Onyechere reporting, Obinwannem News