FG Faults US, UK Over Visa Restriction on Election Riggers

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FG Faults US, UK Over Visa Restriction on Election Riggers
Nwolu Obiajulu

The federal government has kicked against the visa restrictions imposed on some Nigerians by the United States (US) owing to election rigging during the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.

According to a statement by Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of state, actions have also been taken against persons in the run-up to the September and October 2020 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo.

The United Kingdom (UK) had also threatened to impose severe sanctions such as visa ban on persons who work against credible elections in Nigeria.

Reacting to the development, the federal through the ministry of foreign affairs in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, said such actions by the US and UK were disrespectful to the country’s sovereignty.

Nwonye stated that such restrictions were uncalled for as the federal government has been committed to ensuring free and fair elections, noting that the country has laws that stipulate sanctions for offenders.

The statement read in part, “It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions. The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.

“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led Peace Committee.

“It should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.

“It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.

“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and U.S. to cooperate with our relevant agencies.”

This post was written by Nwolu Obiajulu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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