Tuesday, 15 September 2020 06:45

US Imposes Visa Ban on Persons Involved in Election Rigging in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo States

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In 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 United States placed a visa ban on individuals for their acts.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the visa ban would also cover people engaged in controversial activities in the run-up to the Edo and Ondo State elections in September and October 2020, owing to their actions in the run-up to the vote.

The US hasn't released the identities of excluded persons.

A declaration signed on Monday September 14 by State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus 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 condemned all acts of electoral violence, intimidation, or corruption that 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.

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