The United States says it has imposed visa restrictions on some Nigerians for undermining the democratic process in the country during the 2019 general elections.
The US Department of State spokesman, Morgan Ortagus, in a statement in Washington explained that the visa restrictions would affect Nigerians believed to be responsible for undermining democracy in Nigeria.
It explained that the affected individuals, who were not identified, operated with impunity at the expense of Nigerians and undermined democratic principles and human rights.
Those affected include individuals indicted for electoral violence, rigging and other anti-democratic activities before, during and after the 2019 elections.
“The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government.
“This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”
Meanwhile The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party PDP in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, has said that the current travel ban imposed by the United States on some politicians in Nigeria has validated his claim that the presidential election was rigged in favour of the All Progressives Congress and President Muhammadu Buhari.
A statement issued by Atiku’s media aide, Mr. Paul Ibe, said he had maintained after the presidential election that the poll was not credible.
He further alleged that the leadership under Buhari and his allies engaged in propaganda to deny that the election was rigged.
According to him, after many months of allegedly living in denial, the Buhari administration was now faced with the truth in the form of a US visa ban on politicians who undermined Nigeria’s democracy.
He said, “We also wish to thank the United States of America for standing with the Nigerian people against those whose desire is to truncate our democracy.
“We urge the Nigerian people not to despair. There is hope on the horizon. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The myriad of security, economic and social challenges Nigeria currently faces, which has resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters for extreme poverty will, God willing, soon be over, with the prospect of purposeful and result-oriented leadership.”