The U.S. Government has imposed visa restrictions on “individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process.” A spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Ms Morgan Ortagus announced this in a statement on Tuesday. She disclosed that the action applied to those responsible for election-related violence.
However, the United States government failed to disclose the identity of the individuals. Further, Ortagus said the visa restrictions were targeted only the unidentified individuals and not the Nigerian people or government. Additionally, she disclosed that these specific individuals had operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people. Likewise, they had undermined democratic principles and human rights in Nigeria by their actions.
No fewer than 39 persons died in violence related to the last general elections in the country. The action, according to the spokesperson, is in fulfillment of an earlier promise by the U.S. government to consider sanctions against anti-democratic forces. This includes organisers of election-related violence in the country.
In a statement released on January 24th, the U.S. government had revealed its decision to take action. Donald Trump’s administration had vowed consequences including visa restrictions for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process. It also promised to clamp down on those responsible for organising election-related violence.
“To that end, the Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria. “These individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ortagus explained that the decision reflected the Department’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government in its anti-corruption crusade. In addition, she cited the need to improve efforts to strengthen democracy, accountability and respect for human rights. “The United States is a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy. “We commend all those Nigerians who participated peacefully in the February and March 2019 elections and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes.
“As Nigeria marks the 20th anniversary of a return to democratic rule this year, we remain committed to working together to continue to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations. “We condemn those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process,” the spokesperson added.