The USA has announced the imposition of visa restriction on some individuals for their actions during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
In a statement on Monday, Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, said actions have also been taken against some persons in the run-up to the September and October 2020 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo. Pompeo however did not reveal the identities of those affected by the ban.
“In July 2019, we announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who undermined 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,” the statement read.
“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.
“The Department of State emphasises that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”
The US said it remained a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy and commended all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen democratic institutions and processes.
In the buildup to the 2019 elections, Pompeo had said those who interfere with the process must be held accountable.
Nigeria’s elections in the last five years have been characterised by allegations of vote buying, violence, and the use of state power to intimidate and harrass opposition elements.