The United States government on Monday imposed additional visa restrictions on some Nigerians over election-related activities in the African nation, reported Reuters. The U.S. State Department accused them of being responsible for undermining the democratic process.
In a statement, the U.S. State Department said the restrictions were imposed on the individuals, who were not named for their actions related to the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.
However, the identities of those affected by the ban were not disclosed. It currently remains unknown how many have been affected by the visa restrictions are and how the government arrived at its conclusion.
“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in the statement.
Ortagus added that the actions announced were specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people.
She said the U.S. government’s decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realize its commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights. She ensured that the US government remained committed to working together to advance democracy and respect human rights.
Ortagus urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, political parties, security services and other stakeholders in the impending Edo and Ondo elections to uphold the tenets of democracy.
The US said that it remained a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy and commended all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen democratic institutions and processes.
In 2019, the US had imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians it said had undermined elections in February and March of that year.
The Edo and Ondo governorship polls are set to be held on Sept. 19 and Oct. 10.