The Trump administration on Monday announced a visa restriction on some unnamed Nigerians as a punishment for their actions during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa state elections and in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo state elections.
This was contained in a statement signed by Morgan Ortagus, spokesperson for the Department of State. The statement said the decision reflects America’s commitment to strengthening democracy in Nigeria.
The statement reads: “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 State elections.
“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles,” the statement read in part.
“The Department of State emphasises that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights,” the statement read.
The US said it remained a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy and commended all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen democratic institutions and processes.
It condemned the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process.
“As the Edo and Ondo State off-cycle elections near, we urge all stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission, the political parties, and the security services, to uphold the tenets of democracy and facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, conducted in an appropriately transparent and non-violent manner,” the US stated.