The government of the United Kingdom has disclosed that it is ready to take action against those elements planning to subvert democratic processes in Nigeria.
Nigeria holds its general elections in February and March 2023 and the UK government said it is monitoring the run-up to the elections closely.
In a statement released on Tuesday in Abuja by the British High Commission ahead of the 2023 general elections, the UK’s Minister of State for Development & Africa, Andrew Mitchell, explained how important Nigeria is to the UK.
“Where the UK is aware of attempts to subvert democratic processes at the National or State level, we are prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours.
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“These actions could include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime,” the Minister said.
The UK government reinstated its commitment to supporting credible and inclusive elections, adding that the success of the election was fundamental to Nigeria’s continued democratic growth and the future of regional and global democracy.
“Nigeria matters to the UK, and we are following the run-up to these Presidential, National Assembly and Gubernatorial elections very closely,” Mitchell said.
The UK Government promised to continue to work closely with INEC and Nigerian civil society partners to provide advisory support on electoral and legal reforms, assist in strengthening democratic institutions, and advocate for the importance of civil society engagement in electoral and democratic processes to help deliver credible elections.
While calling for free, fair, and credible elections, the UK urged all actors in Nigeria to intervene proactively to calm any tensions and prevent violence in the periods before, during and after the elections.