U.S. Announces Visa Ban On Nigerians Undermining Polls, Democracy

Not less than two weeks after UK government vowed to impose visa ban on Nigerian politicians involved in violence and rigging, the United States of America, yesterday, announced visa restrictions on some Nigerians accused of undermining democracy.

This was announced by the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken via his Twitter handle who said the sanctioned individuals, whose names was not disclosd would be ineligible for U.S. visas.

The top-ranking diplomat also explained that some family members of those barred from the U.S. might also be subjected to the same restriction.

“We are committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world. Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election.

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“Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be found ineligible for visas to the United States under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.

“Certain family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. 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 said, clarifying that the restriction is not targeted at the Nigerian people or the government.

He described it as a reflection of the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s aspiration to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.

The development is coming barely two months after the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, Rolf Olson, said the U.S. would impose visa sanctions on people who try to undermine Nigeria’s democratic process.

Speaking at the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship alumni association seminar, last November, Olson said sanctions had been placed on persons who undermined the nation’s election before, and would be repeated in the next election.

Also, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Liang, two weeks ago, stated that any person who incites violence or actually acts violently to undermine the 2023 electoral process would be barred from visiting the United Kingdom.

Liang spoke while responding to complaints by the National Chairman of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Julius Abure, over the killing of his party’s candidates and officials in various parts of the country.