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The United States of America has vowed to impose visa ban on individuals who attempt to undermine Nigeria’s democratic process in the 2023 general elections.
This was disclosed by the political counselor at the US Embassy in Nigeria, Rolf Olson, when he spoke at the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship alumni association seminar on Thursday.
Olson said the US would not hesitate to impose sanctions on individuals who undermine the country’s election just like they have done in previous elections.
He said, “When we say ‘all’ Nigerians, we mean all: politicians, candidates, students, leaders of religious, traditional, community, youth and business organisations and entities – everyone has a role to play in this effort.
“Even a small number of troublemakers can cause substantial havoc to an election. It takes a comprehensive effort to try to eliminate the use of violence and inflammatory rhetoric.
“Individuals seeking to undermine the democratic process, including through violence, may be found ineligible for visas to the United States.
“We have imposed visa restrictions in the past against those responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process, and remain fully willing to do so again in the context of the upcoming elections.”
Olson restated the neutrality of the US in the upcoming general election in Nigeria.
He added, “It never ceases to amaze me how often we see comments, claims, and assertions from people on social and traditional media about what our supposed objectives are in the elections, which candidate or party we favour, how to interpret certain statements or actions of ours in terms of what it means about our intentions are perceptions.
“In reality, I think it is quite simple to interpret us, especially when it comes to the elections. We always try to be clear in our messages, so let me be clear here on several important points:
“The United States does not support any individual candidate or party in this election cycle (or for that matter, in any other upcoming election).
“Our interest is in supporting credible and transparent elections that reflect the will of Nigerian voters, in a process that is conducted peacefully.”