The United States of America (USA) stated Wednesday that it has imposed visa restrictions on several Nigerians who had interfered with the 2023 elections, which were held in February and March.
The disclosure was made in a statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Blinken clarified the penalties’ scope, saying, “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 election cycle.”
“These actions are directed at specific individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Nigerian government as a whole.”
“Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be subject to visa restrictions to the United States under a policy covering those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy,” he explained. These individuals have been involved in voter intimidation through threats and physical violence, vote rigging, and other activities that undermine Nigeria’s democratic process.
“The decision to take steps to impose visa restrictions reflects the United States’ continued commitment to supporting Nigerian aspirations to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.”
The United States has frequently warned of harsh penalties for violators of Nigeria’s electoral process.
Blinken stated in January that visa bans were enforced on people who harmed the 2022 gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun.
In addition, some individuals will face visa limitations in the United States in 2020 as a result of their acts during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. The prohibition was again imposed in 2019, following the year’s general elections.
However, as with previous bans, the names of those affected were not released, despite the fact that some Nigerians, including controversial Lagos bus chief Musiliu Akinsanya, also known as MC Oluomo, were caught on video threatening potential voters ahead of the March 18 governorship election in Lagos.