The U.S. government claims to have imposed visa restrictions on some individuals for their actions during the November 2019 elections in the states of Kogi and Bayelsa as well as the upcoming elections for Edo and Ondo governorship polls on Saturday, October 10, respectively.
Although the elections have not yet taken place in Edo and Ondo states, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo imposed a visa restriction on these individuals due to their behaviour in view of the elections.
This according to a statement signed on Monday by the State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus.
The statement read in part, “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 states’ elections.
“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.”
Although the U.S. government has not revealed the identity of those who have been banned, said the decision reflects its commitment to strengthen democracy in Nigeria.
But according to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it said some of the politicians banned are Governor Ganduje of Kano State, Mallam Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna State, Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
The statement said, “The State Department emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to some individuals and do not address the Nigerian people,” he said.
This decision reflects the State Department’s commitment to work with the Nigerian government to deliver on its explicit promise to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability and respect for human rights.”
The United States stated that it is still a strong supporter of Nigerian democracy and congratulated all Nigerians who participated in the elections throughout 2019 and worked to strengthen democratic institutions and processes.
It condemned the acts of violence, intimidation or corruption that have affected Nigerians and undermined the democratic process.
The government of the United States said, “As the off-cycle elections in the states of Edo and Ondo approach, we urge all actors, including the Independent National Electoral Commission, political parties and security services, to respect the principles of democracy and facilitate truly free and fair elections conducted in a transparent and non-violent manner.”