The United States Government has issued fresh visa sanction to Nigerians who will be perceived to sabotage democratic process in the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
The Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, Rolf Olson, stated this at the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association Annual Seminar 2022 on Promoting Electoral Integrity in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges” in Abuja.
Olson who delivered his keynote address virtually described the threat as one of the important messages from the United States government about the upcoming elections.
He said that the US Government looked to all Nigerians to reject the use of violence and inflammatory rhetoric before, during, and after election day.
“When we say ‘all’ Nigerians we mean all: politicians, candidates, students, leaders of religious, traditional, community, youth, and business organizations and entities – everyone has a role to play in this effort.
“Even a small number of troublemakers can cause substantial havoc to an election. It takes a comprehensive effort to try to eliminate the use of violence and inflammatory rhetoric.
“Individuals seeking to undermine the democratic process, including through violence, may be found ineligible for visas to the United States.
“We have imposed visa restrictions in the past against those responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process, and remain fully willing to do so again in the context of the upcoming elections.”
He said it was essential that candidates and their parties – as well as all of their supporters seeking to help them win election – refrain from brash assertions of victory that suggest defeat is only possible if there is fraud.
“There is no true democratic election in which the outcome is foretold.
“Before I became a diplomat I used to work in American politics in Washington, and I have witnessed numerous elections in which a particular candidate seemed certain to win, based on some combination of various factors.