US imposes visa ban on riggers of Nigeria’s Kogi, Bayelsa elections

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The United States Government has imposed visa restriction on certain individuals it said were involved in electoral malpractices 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.

The visa restriction approved by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was made known via a statement signed by the spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, on Monday.

Though election has not been held in Edo and Ondo states, but the visa restriction was said to have been placed on certain individuals in those states due to their conduct in the run-up to the poll.

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The statement read: “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 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.

“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.”