The United States has threatened to sanction anyone who interferes with the democratic process or instigates violence in the 2023 Nigeria general elections.
The Political Counsellor at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, Rolf Olson, gave the warning on Thursday in Abuja on behalf of the US Government at the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association Annual Seminar 2022.
The event was themed, ‘Promoting Electoral Integrity in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges’.
While saying that the BVAS and the electronic transmission of vote results sheets were to ensure the integrity of Nigerian elections, Olson said that the US does not have a candidate in the upcoming elections.
“It never ceases to amaze me how often we see comments, claims, and assertions from people in social and traditional media about what our supposed objectives are in the elections, which candidate or party we favour, how to interpret certain statements or actions of ours in terms of what it means about our intentions are perceptions.
“In reality, I think it is quite simple to interpret us, especially when it comes to the elections. We always try to be clear in our messages, so let me be clear here on several important points.
“The United States does not support any individual candidate or party in this election cycle (or for that matter, in any other upcoming election). Our interest is in supporting credible and transparent elections that reflect the will of Nigerian voters, in a process that is conducted peacefully.
“Individuals seeking to undermine the democratic process, including through violence, may be found ineligible for visas to the United States.
“We have imposed visa restrictions in the past against those responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process, and remain fully willing to do so again in the context of the upcoming elections,” he said.
On his part, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus, Okoye, said that 176, 846 BVAS will be deployed to all polling units (PUs) in the country.