By Uche Amunike
The United States government has announced that they have taken steps to impose a visa ban on Nigerians who disrupted the last general election held In the country.
Speaking, through a statement released by the United States Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, he stated that the steps they have taken to impose the visa restrictions are meant for specific individuals in Nigeria who in one way or the other, contributed in undermining the election.
Hear him: ‘the United States is committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world. Today, I am announcing that we have taken steps to impose visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process during Nigeria’s 2023 elections cycle.’
He explained that the new visa ban on Nigerians was specifically directed to the government of Nigeria as a whole as well as specific Nigerians and not to the entire Nigerian citizenry.
According to the statement, Under the US Immigration and Nationality Act, these affected individuals will be subject to restrictions on visa to the United States, under a policy that covers those believed to be responsible for undermining democracy during the 2023 elections.
He further reiterated: ‘These individuals have been involved in intimidation of voters through threats and physical violence, the manipulation of vote results, and other activity that undermines Nigeria’s democratic process.’
Even though Blinken did not mention the names affected by the US visa ban on Nigerians, the Secretary of State confirmed that their decision to take steps on imposing the ban shows how committed the United States continually remains in supporting Nigerian aspirations to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.
Recall that during and after the last general election in Nigeria, many concerns were raised involving violence and intimidation, plenty of which were caught on camera with certain public figures seen issuing threats to specified voters.
A controversial man in the transport business in Lagos State, Chief Musiliu Akinsanya also popularly addressed as MC Oluomo was caught on camera threatening potential voters by daring them to vote for any party that wasn’t the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and face the consequences.
The latest US Visa ban on Nigerians has come at a time that Nigerians appear helpless after experiencing the desperation shown by politicians who promoted violence and rigged the polls with a lot of impunity, as they were mostly captured on camera.
These elections were held on February 25th and March 18th for federal and state polls, respectively and both exercises were riddled with countless irregularities which include violence across the country.
It produced a president-elect who was a former governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu under controversial circumstances. Even though his two opponents, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party are still challenging his election in court, preparations are in top gear to swear him in as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29, against the wishes of a generality of Nigerians.