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US imposes visa ban on Nigerians behind violence in 2019 general election

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THE United States (US) would be imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians responsible for organising election-related violence during the just concluded 2019 general elections.

A statement  by the Spokesperson of the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus revealed that the decision was taken by Michael Pompeo, US Secretary on behalf of US government .

“Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria,” the statement read in part.

The US government said that would be the consequences for individuals responsible for organizing election-related violence during the 2019 general election.

“These individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights,” it noted.

The US said the decision reflected its commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its “expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights”.

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Nigeria’s general election held between February and March 2019. During the poll activities, Nigeria recorded cases of violence and killings across the state.

The European Union in its final report has included that there was poor violence prevention during the poll. “The elections became increasingly marred by violence and intimidation, with the role of the security agencies becoming more contentious as the process progressed.

Some groups and well-meaning Nigerians have called on the government to investigate the causes of violence that erupted during the period.

The US, describing itself as a “steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy”, said it would deny visas to individuals who had caused violence in the country.

“As Nigeria marks the twentieth anniversary of a return to democratic rule this year, we remain committed to working together to continue to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations,” said US Department of state.

Meanwhile, it commended those that participated peacefully and worked to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions and processes.

The government emphasised that the actions would affect certain individuals, adding it was not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government of the President Muhammadu Buhari.

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