The US government on Monday, September 14, announced a visa restriction on Nigerians who try to undermine the country’s democracy by causing violence or rigging elections.
The US State Department noted that the visa ban was not directed at Nigerians in general but certain people that oppose peace and democratic values in the country – Targeted at those who were involved in election violence, those found guilty of rigging the Kogi and Bayelsa state governorship elections held in 2019 as well as other Nigerians engaging in illicit practices in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo States elections.
Recall the UK government and the US issued a warning in January 2019 that they would impose sanctions on individuals found inciting violence during elections in Nigeria.
A statement released by the spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, said those issued visa restrictions received the sanction for undermining democracy in Nigeria.
The U.S. is imposing visa restrictions on those who undermine democracy in Nigeria. We're committed to working with the Nigerian government to strengthen democratic institutions and processes. Nigerians deserve free, fair, transparent & peaceful elections. https://t.co/6sSEuzRMGR
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) September 14, 2020
According to the US Department of State, the decision shows America’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.
Read the statement below:
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 states elections and in the run-up to the September and October 2020, Edo and Ondo States 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 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.
This means any individual or Nigerian politician found guilty of electoral malpractice after the Edo governorship election, will be included on the visa restriction list.