The United States government has warned that it will impose visa restrictions on politicians caught promoting electoral violence, a policy it resumed after the 2019 elections.
This was disclosed by America’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Mr Michael Gonzales, at a conference themed: “United States Policy and Nigeria’s National Decisions in the 2023 Elections”, held at Johns Hopkins University, United States.
The Deputy Assistant added the visa restrictions were warranted to dissuade those who may be tempted to use violence to undermine Nigeria’s democratic process
What they are saying about visa restrictions
Gonzales stated that the US Government “will continue to use our messaging, as well as other diplomatic channels at our disposal, including visa restrictions, where warranted, to dissuade those who may be tempted to use violence to undermine Nigeria’s democratic process.”
He also revealed that the US government is committed to working with Nigeria to uphold its conventions toward ensuring a peaceful power transition in 2023.
Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Ms. Idayat Hassan, noted that ‘political parties during the Anambra governorship election cycle could not campaign due to insecurity’, and that worse scenarios could happen in 2023.
Hassan asserted that “the zoning of the presidency to the south, particularly the Southeast, will give the region a sense of belonging in Nigeria.”
What you should know
- Two years ago, the United States government imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians 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.
- The statement read “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.”