The United States Government says it has imposed visa restriction on some Nigerian politicians who manipulated the November 2019 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
According to a statement signed by the spokesperson for the US Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, on Monday, the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, also imposed the restriction on another set of persons for their actions in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State governorship elections.
The country said its decision to ban those individuals reflects its commitment to strengthening democracy in Nigeria.
The identities of those affected were not revealed.
“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,” the statement 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 emphasises 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.”
While condemning the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process, the US said it remains a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy and commended all Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019.
“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 statement added.