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UK, US plan to place visa ban on poll riggers, others

The United States and the United Kingdom have warned that politicians, who instigate violence or are involved in electoral fraud, will be refused visas to enter their countries.

In statements issued by the US Embassy and British High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, on Thursday, both governments called for free and fair elections, announcing that politicians working towards scuttling the exercise would not only face a number of sanctions but would also have their family members face visa bans to the US and the UK.

The US Embassy in its statement, said, “The conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria is important not only for Nigeria, but for the African continent.

“The United States Government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections but supports the Nigerian democratic process itself. We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent and peaceful electoral process.

“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 US immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members.”

While making its own call and pledging support for the Independent National Electoral Commission, the British High Commission said, “We and our international partners remain committed supporters of Nigeria’s democracy.

“We do not support any party or individual and believe that the Nigerian people should be able to choose their leaders in an environment free from hate speech and insecurity

“We continue to provide significant support for the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Nigerian civil society to help them deliver credible elections.

“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.”

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