US issues visa ban on Kogi, Bayelsa governorship election riggers

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As the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states near, the United States has announced visa ban on persons who committed election malfeasance rigged the November 15, 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

The US in a statement by spokesperson for the department of state, Mr. Morgan Ortagus, however emphasised that the visa restriction was specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people.

Ortagus said the US remains committed to working together to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations.

The US recalled the statement it issued on January 24, 2019, where it considered consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence.

“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.

“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,” said Ortagus.

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