The US government has announced visa restrictions on Nigerians who were involved in electoral offences and corruption in the 2019 general elections.
The US State Department said the restrictions were not placed on a generality of Nigerians but those who tried to undermine the country’s democracy during February’s general elections.
A statement on the website of the US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria signed by its spokesman, Morgan Ortagus said the targeted individuals were picked for organizing election-related violence.
The statement dated July 23, stated that the US government in a January 24 statement said it would consider consequences- including visa restrictions- for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process.
“To that end, the Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria. These individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights,” the statement read.
“The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government. This decision reflects the Department of State’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,” the statement added.
The US government also commended Nigerians who participated peacefully in the February and March 2019 elections and worked to strengthen Nigeria’s democratic institutions and processes.
“As Nigeria marks the twentieth anniversary of a return to democratic rule this year, we remain committed to working together to continue to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations. We condemn those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process,” the statement concluded.
A list of some prominent politicians is already trending in the social media; but the American embassy had declined to provide details of those affected by the travel ban.
“Under U.S. law, individual visa records are confidential, and we cannot provide details as to who is or will be affected,” officials of the mission said.
Daily Trust reports that there was electoral violence in some states in northern and southern Nigeria; a development that prompted several legal tussles.
Also, election observers differed on the conduct of the election, with some accusing INEC, political parties and some candidates of desperation.