United States of America (USA), yesterday, announced it placed visa restrictions on some Nigerians who undermined the 2023 elections, held in February and March.
Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, made the disclosure in a statement.
Clarifying scope of the sanctions, Blinken affirmed: “The United States is committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world.
“Today, I am announcing that we have taken steps to impose visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process during Nigeria’s 2023 elections cycle.
“These actions are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria as a whole.”
He noted: “Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be subject to restrictions on visas to the United States under a policy covering those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy. These individuals have been involved in intimidation of voters through threats and physical violence, the manipulation of vote results, and other activity that undermines Nigeria’s democratic process.
“The decision to take steps to impose visa restrictions reflects the continued commitment of the United States to support Nigerian aspirations to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.”
The U.S. had repeatedly warned of strict punitive measures against offenders of the electoral process in Nigeria.
In January, Blinken said visa bans were imposed on those who undermined the 2022 gubernatorial polls in Ekiti and Osun.
Also, in 2020, U.S. visa restrictions were placed on some individuals for their actions during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. The ban was also placed in 2019 after the year’s general elections.
However, like previous bans, names of the affected individuals were not listed, although some Nigerians, including controversial Lagos bus transport chief, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, were caught on video threatening potential voters, ahead of the March 18 governorship election in Lagos.