U.S., UK vow to sanction polls violence perpetrators
Those who unduly interfere with Nigeria’s forthcoming general elections are to face restriction of visas and other punitive measures from the United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (UK).
In two separate statements yesterday, both countries said they would be monitoring the elections ‘closely’ to ensure that they are free, fair and credible.
Specifically, the U.S. said although it had no preferred candidate, it was interested in the process because of Nigeria’s relevance to Africa and the world.
“The conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria is important not only for Nigeria, but for the African continent. The United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in the upcoming elections.
“We support the Nigerian democratic process itself. We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process. We and other democratic nations will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during and after the elections.
“We will not hesitate to consider consequences –including visa restrictions –for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process. Under U.S. immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members.”
Also, the UK in a statement, said it was committed to the growth of Nigeria’s democracy through free and fair polls, promising to deploy several observers to monitor the exercise.
It added that it would be on the look out for those bent on using violence and social media to influence the outcome.
“Twenty-three days to the presidential and national assembly elections and 37 days to the governorship and states assembly polls, the British High Commission in Abuja would like to reaffirm our support for free, fair and peaceful elections in Nigeria.