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US imposes visa restrictions to election riggers in Nigeria

The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has imposed 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.

US imposes visa restrictions to election riggers in Nigeria www.africanstand.com
President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sunday, June 14, 2020, after stepping off Marine One as he returns from his golf club in New Jersey. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(African Stand) — The United States on Monday said it has imposed visa restrictions on some individuals who are responsible for rigging during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections in Nigeria.

“In July 2019, we announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who undermined the February and March 2019 elections,” Mike Pompeo, secretary of state said in a statement.

“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.

Pompeo said the individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles in Nigeria.

Both state governorship elections took place in 2019 with observers, journalists, and civil society organisations adjudging them to be full of violence, voter intimidation by security forces, and vote-buying.

Despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaring winners in the elections, opposition parties rejected the results, alleging cases of rigging and unfairness by INEC. Governors of both states were subsequently decided by Nigeria’s supreme court.

The outcome of both elections has since then caused political parties and their candidates to push for legislation to make electioneering more credible and transparent in Nigeria.

Pompeo, however, noted that the visa ban was not directed at Nigerians in general but certain people that oppose peace and democratic values in the country.

“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,” Pompeo said.

“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.”

Esther Kamara

Written by Esther Kamara

Esther Kamara is a reporter at African Stand, covering the West African region with stories on politics and how it intersects with business, innovation, startups, and culture. She graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.

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