By Ogochukwu Isioma
The United States (US) says it has taken steps to impose visa restrictions on individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process during the country’s 2023 general elections.
US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, in a statement, on Monday, said the decision reflects the continued commitment of the US to support Nigerian aspirations to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.
He said the affected Nigerian citizens were involved in intimidation of voters through threats and physical violence, the manipulation of vote results and others.
Blinken who said the move was not targeted at Nigerians or the government, however, failed to name the affected individuals.
The statement reads, “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.
“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.”