US imposes visa ban on election riggers in Nigeria

The U.S. government accuses the unnamed individuals of undermining democratic principles.

The United States government says it has imposed visa restrictions on Nigerian individuals believed to have engaged in electoral misconducts in the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.

The U.S. Department of State in a statement on Monday, September 14, 2020 said the unnamed individuals are being sanctioned for their untoward actions surrounding the elections which took place in November 2019.

The department’s spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, said the restriction also affects those who behaved inappropriately in the run up to the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo scheduled for September and October 2020, respectively

“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles,” Ortagus said.

Similar travel restrictions were imposed by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeoafter Nigeria’s general elections in February and March 2019.

The Department of State noted that the action specifically targets individuals and not Nigerians in general, noting that it’s an expression of the U.S. government’s commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.

“We condemn the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process,” the statement read.

The U.S. government called on institutions and voters in Edo and Ondo to facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, and conduct themselves in an appropriately transparent and non-violent manner.