Nigeria’s 2019 general elections are fast-approaching, and the US and the UK have threatened to impose a visa ban on any Nigerian that will be involved in rigging the election or any violent acts during the election.
Both countries made their intentions known via separate emails sent on Thursday, stating that they are in favor of having a free, fair and credible election in Nigeria, which happens to be the most populous African country with close to 200 million people.
The US Mission in Nigeria emphasized on the importance of having a free and fair election process in Nigeria come February and its relevance not just for Nigeria, but for the entire continent of Africa.
The Mission made it clear that the US is not backing nor supporting any particular candidate or political party in the upcoming elections, but is interested in the upholding of the Nigerian democratic process and is, therefore, endorsing that Nigeria has a free, fair, and peaceful election process.
The statement warned that the US, along with other democratic nations will be following the activities of any persons who may be interfering in the election process closely and that they will not be spared from the consequences which include a visa ban. The US immigration law permits the restriction of family members of those guilty of certain violations. Those who instigate violence against civilians will also face the same consequences.
The UK too emphasized its commitment to ensuring that Nigeria had a free, fair and transparent election process and promised to throw its weight behind Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce genuine results.
The UK further added that it would deploy an extensive mission to observe the upcoming elections, including liaising with the Election Observation Mission of the European Union.
Offenders may be tried under international law
The Observation Mission will be looking out for offenders of election regulations who may tamper with the election results or instigate violence even on social media. There will be repercussions for any offending individuals including a restriction from entering the UK, denial of access to funds from the UK and may even be prosecuted under international law.
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