The United States of America might be considering Visa restrictions on Nigerian government officials and a cut off in the aid being sent to Nigeria as a result of the presidential pardon granted a former governor of Bayelsa State accused of corruption, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
A diplomatic source told Punch that Nigeria currently stands at a disadvantage should the visa restrictions be imposed.
“There are a lot of options open to Washington. For one, if this matter is not resolved, they can issue visa restrictions on government officials and then follow it up with other sanctions recognised within international law.
“Your country stands at a disadvantage because international opinion weighs heavily against it on this one (state pardon). Financial crime, especially money laundering, is closely linked to drug trade and drug trade is linked to terrorism; the whole world is affected by it. So, if any government is seen to be condoning financial crimes in any form, it stands the risk of international isolation.”
Also, in another report by The Hill, a U.S. Newspaper, the Obama administration threatened to cut off aid to Nigeria after the government of President Goodluck Jonathan pardoned Alamieyeseigha.
The State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was quoted as saying: “The United States government is deeply disappointed over the recent pardons of corrupt officials by the Nigerian government. We see this as a setback for the fight against corruption and also for our ability to play the strong role we’ve played in supporting rule of law and legal institution building in Nigeria, which is very important for the future of the country, obviously.”
When asked if the United States could cut off aid, she didn’t rule it out. “We have made clear to the Nigerians that this puts a question mark on the kinds of work that we’ve been trying to do with them. We haven’t yet taken the kinds of steps that you’re suggesting, but we’re continuing to look at what’s appropriate.”
Nigeria was slated to receive $660.5 million in the president’s 2012 budget, more than any other sub-Saharan country except Ethiopia.