The United States has imposed visa ban on individuals who undermined conducts of the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa governorship polls.
This was disclosed in a statement Monday by the spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus.
“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 statement reads in part.
Although the US Government did not reveal the identities of those who have been banned, it said the ban was in furtherance of its commitment to strengthening democracy in Nigeria.
“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 statement added.
The US condemned the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process, insisting it remained a supporter of the entrenchment of basic freedoms in the West African country.
“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,” the US stated.
The Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections – both won by the All Progressives Congress – which occurred in 2019 were fraught with violence.
While APC’s Yahaya Bello has retained the governorship position in Kogi State, the country’s Supreme Court earlier this year sacked the APC candidate in Bayelsa, David Lyon and announced Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the rightful governor.