US imposes visa restrictions on some Nigerians undermining democracy

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The United States has imposed visa restrictions on some Nigerians who were said to have undermined the democratic process in the governorship polls in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States.

A statement issued on Wednesday by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, reiterated the commitment of the US government to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world.

Blinken said, “Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election.”

Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the individuals will be found ineligible for visas to America.

Blinken noted that certain family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.

According to him, “Additional persons who undermine the democratic process in Nigeria—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Nigeria’s 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy”.

Blinken stated that the latest visa restrictions target only certain persons and are not directed at the people or the government.

He added “The decision to impose visa restrictions reflects the commitment of the United States to support Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law”.

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has applauded the ban on alleged election riggers in Nigeria.

Reacting to the ban via his Twitter handle on Wednesday, Atiku urged other “established democracies” to join the US in placing a visa ban on election riggers in Nigeria.

Atiku tweeted, “I welcome the United States visa ban on anti-democratic elements whose actions seek to undermine the 2023 elections in Nigeria.”

“I encourage other established democracies to follow suit to ensure that there’s no hiding place for the enemies of our democracy”.