The UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, is ready to take legal action against anybody who participated in or incited electoral violence during the recently ended general elections, according to the British High Commission.
According to the commission, the UK was already compiling the names of those responsible. It will impose consequences, “including excluding individuals from applying for UK visas or applying for sanctions under our human rights sanctions mechanism.”
The high commission confirmed that it was gathering pertinent data in order to take action against some people in a statement provided to our correspondent on Wednesday.
The high commission acknowledged that there were “notable points of concern” and claimed to have placed observers in six states. Members of our observation team saw violence and voter suppression firsthand in a number of polling places. We observed vote buying and voter intimidation, the damage and theft of electoral materials, and overall disruption of the process in many states, including Lagos, Enugu, and Rivers, and we heard reliable reports of the same incidents from other observer missions and civil society organizations.
“In addition, we observed incidents of harassment of journalists. Freedom of speech and a free press is crucial for a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.
“The UK is concerned by the use of inflammatory ethnoreligious language by some public and political figures. We call on all leaders not just to distance themselves from this kind of language, but to prevent those who speak on their behalf from doing so in this way.
Many Nigerians’ readiness to cast ballots in the face of intimidation and hostility is a monument to their dedication to democracy.
However, it applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission for enhancing its performance during the March 18 elections for state Houses of Assembly and governorship.