The United States and the United Kingdom announce repercussions, including visa restrictions, for election interference and election-related violence.
The US stated in a statement published on the US embassy website that it does not support any particular candidate but believes in the democratic tenets of the Nigerian democracy.
The statement also said that the Nigerian elections were of immense importance to the world and the African continent.
” We, and other democratic nations, will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections. We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process. Under U.S. immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members. ” The US statement said.
The United Kingdom (UK) has also made a similar statement, which was published on the same page on the US embassy website.
The UK said it reaffirms a strong support for free, fair and peaceful elections in Nigeria.
It said the UK will provide support to the Independent Electoral commission (INEC) and the civil society groups to ensure a smooth polling exercise.
The UK warned strictly that those who will attempt to interfere with the electioneering process may face travel ban to its country.
…We will be deploying an extensive observation mission for the forthcoming elections, including coordinating with the EU’s Election Observation Mission. Our monitors will in particular be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media. We would like to remind all Nigerians that where the UK is aware of such attempts, this may have consequences for individuals. These could include their eligibility to travel to the UK, their ability to access UK based funds or lead to prosecution under international law. ” The statement said in part.
Both the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), and the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have accused each other of planning to rig the forthcoming Nigerian elections.
Nigeria’s current president and flag bearer of the ruling party, Muhammadu Buhari said it was impossible for his party to lose the presidential poll. He said this while answering questions on a live debate session.
The PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, traveled to the US in January, after 12 years of being refused visa allegedly due to an impending corruption links with a former US congress man, raising speculations the US may be barking his candidacy.
With this statement by the US on its stand for the candidates, it is clear the US wants to be seen as a neutral party in this forthcoming Nigerian elections.
The UK and the US, by their statements, clearly defined their stand on the Nigerian elections.