…Says restrictions targeted at specific individuals, not Nigerian people or newly-elected government***
The U.S. Government has imposed visa restrictions on some highly placed Nigerians, saying it is in fulfillment of the U.S. government’s earlier promise to consider sanctions, against anti-democratic forces, including organisers of election-related violence in the country.
A spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Ms Morgan Ortagus, who announced this on Tuesday in a statement, said the action applied to those mainly responsible for election-related violence, during which no fewer than 39 persons died via violence, related to the last general elections in the country.
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Identifying them as “individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process”, Ortagus said the unidentified individuals had “operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights”.
“In a Jan. 24 statement, the U.S. government said that we would consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or 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.
The spokesperson emphasized that the restrictions targeted at specific individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly-elected government.
She explained that the decision reflected the Department’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government in its anti-corruption crusade and 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.