The United States government has imposed visa restrictions on individuals in Nigeria who have been involved in activities that undermine democratic processes and violate democratic principles.
The announcement was made by Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, in a statement posted on the US government’s website.
Blinken emphasized the US commitment to supporting and advancing democracy, both in Nigeria and worldwide.
The visa restrictions imposed are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the government as a whole.
The restrictions fall under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and are aimed at individuals believed to be responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy.
The US government highlighted that these individuals have been involved in intimidating voters through threats and physical violence, manipulating election results, and engaging in other activities that undermine the democratic process in Nigeria.
While the names of those on the visa ban list were not disclosed, those affected may face visa refusals or denial of entry if they already possess valid visas.
The European Union had also expressed concern about the conduct of some individuals and institutions during the elections.
Barry Andrews, the Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission, stated that Nigerians’ appetite for democracy had been dampened due to failures by the political elite and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The visa restrictions imposed by the US reflect the country’s ongoing commitment to supporting Nigeria’s aspirations to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.
The move sends a clear message that actions undermining democratic processes will not be tolerated.
The presidential and National Assembly elections were held on February 25, with the governorship and State House of Assembly elections following on March 18.
The presidential election results are currently being challenged in court by the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party.
As the inauguration of the new president-elect approaches on May 29, these visa restrictions serve as a reminder of the importance of upholding democratic principles and ensuring transparent and fair electoral processes.