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US imposes visa ban on Nigerians complicit in ‘undermining recent election’

US imposes visa ban on Nigerians complicit in ‘undermining recent election’
January 25
19:36 2023

The United States says it has imposed visa ban on certain individuals in Nigeria for “undermining democracy” in the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said the actions were taken after it was observed that some persons were found complicit in undermining democracy in Nigeria.

The most recent elections in Nigeria were the Ekiti and Osun governorship polls.

According to Blinken, the bans were a show of commitment and support to strengthening democracy in Nigeria.

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“Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election,” the statement reads.

“Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be found ineligible for visas to the United States under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.”

The ban may also affect certain family members of the affected individuals.

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Blinken also said the restrictions were not targeted at the general populace of the country or the government, but that it was aimed at curbing corruption.

“The visa restrictions announced today are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria,” the statement reads.

“The decision to impose visa restrictions reflects the commitment of the United States to support Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.

“Additional persons who undermine the democratic process in Nigeria—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Nigeria’s 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas.”

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The US has repeatedly warned about its strict measures to punish offenders of the electoral process in Nigeria.

On Sunday, the country said it had no preferred candidate in the forthcoming elections but that promoters of electoral violence would face consequences.

“The US does not have a preferred candidate, full stop! We are not interested in a particular party or candidate. What we are interested in is free, fair, and credible elections that represent the people,” Will Stevens, the US consul general, said.

In 2020, the US said it imposed visa restrictions on some individuals for their actions during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

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The ban was also placed in 2019.

However, like the previous bans, the names of the affected individuals were not listed.

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