AHEAD of gubernatorial election in Edo and Ondo States, the United States (U.S.) has imposed sanctions on top politicians it considered to be undermining Nigeria’s democracy.
The U.S Department of State made this known in a statement titled, “Imposing Visa Restrictions on Nigerians Responsible for Undermining the Democratic Process,” signed by its spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, and posted on its website.
Ortagus said, “The United States is a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy.
“We commend all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes.
“We remain committed to working together to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations.
“We condemn the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process.
“As the Edo and Ondo State off-cycle elections near, we urge all stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission, the political parties, and the security services, to uphold the tenets of democracy and facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, conducted in an appropriately transparent and non-violent manner.
“In a statement on January 24, 2019, the U.S. Government said we would consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organizing election-related violence.
“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.
“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.
“The Department of State emphasizes 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 realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”