US imposes more visa restrictions on Nigerians ’undermining democracy’

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THE US is imposing additional visa restrictions on Nigerians it says undermined democracy during elections in the West African country’s Kogi and Bayelsa states last November.

In a statement, US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said these individuals had so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people.

In January 2019, Washington said it would consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for people responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence.

In July of the same year, it announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who had undermined votes in February and March.

‘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,’ Ortagus said.

‘We commend all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes.’

She stressed that the move was specific to certain individuals and not directed at Nigerians wholesale.

The US was committed to working together with the West Africa country to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both nations, Ortagus said.

Her country also condemned 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,’ she said.

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