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U.S Government imposes visa sanctions on Nigerians over electoral violence

The United States government has imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians 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. 

This was announced by the US Embassy in Nigeria on Monday. The sanction comes a year after the US government-imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians that undermined the February and March 2019 elections. 

The US government said it is a supporter of democracy in Nigeria, and remains 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,” 

The Embassy, urged all stakeholders participating in the Edo and Ondo elections to desist from participating in electoral violence, and uphold the tenets of democracy, facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, and conduct it in a transparent and non-violent manner. 

The statement disclosed that the U.S Government, in January 2019, warned that visa restrictions would be meted out on individuals responsible for undermining Nigerian democratic process, or for organizing election-related violence, citing the July 2019 visa restrictions on Nigerians for the roles in 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 said the visa restrictions only applies to individuals, who participated in undermining the Nigerian elections, and not directed at the Nigerian citizens. It emphasized that this reflects the U.S Government’s role in strengthening democracy in Nigeria. 

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