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Guber polls: U.S. imposes visa ban on Nigerians ‘undermining democracy’

United States Government has imposed additional visa restrictions on Nigerians it said were involved in undermining democracy in the run-up to Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State and October governorship election in Ondo State.


This is as the U.S. government also said the additional visa restrictions have also been enforced on individuals who operated with impunity and undermined democratic principles at the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.


The Department of State, in a statement issued yesterday by its spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, did not, however, name the individuals or say how many Nigerians were affected by the visa restrictions.


Announcing the fresh imposition, the U.S. said: “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 elections.


These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.”


The Department emphasized that the actions announced are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people, adding that, “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.”


The U.S. had, in July 2019, imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians it said were involved in trying to undermine democracy in the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections.


The statement read: “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 states off-cycle elections near, we urge all stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 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.”


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