The Government of the United Kingdom (UK), has threatened to impose visa ban on Nigerian politicians who incited electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours in the governorship and state assembly elections in the country.
The British High Commission in Nigeria, in a statement on Wednesday, affirmed that the UK will impose visa ban on perpetrators and instigators of electoral violence and manipulators of the electoral process.
The United States Government had earlier vowed to take “all available actions” against politicians and state actors who undermined the general elections in Nigeria.
The British Senior Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, in a statement declared: “The UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, said on 21 February, that the UK is prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours, and action could include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime.
“We can confirm that we are collating relevant information, with a view to taking action against some individuals.”
The British Commission commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for improved logistics during the governorship elections, particularly, when compared to the presidential election three weeks ago.
Rgw Commission stated: “More polling units opened on time, there was greater evidence of BVAS and IREV working and results uploaded in real time from polling units and collation centres. These are positive markers to build on for future elections.”
The Commission noted that members of its observation mission, however, observed violence, and voter suppression in numerous voting locations on Saturday.
“We witnessed and received credible reports from other observer missions and civil society organisations of vote buying and voter intimidation the destruction and hijacking of election materials and the general disruption of the process in numerous states including Lagos, Enugu and Rivers.
“In addition, we observed incidents of harassment of journalists. Freedom of speech and a free press are crucial for a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.
“The UK is concerned by the use of inflammatory ethno-religious language by some public and political figures. We call on all leaders not just to distance themselves from this kind of language, but to prevent those who speak on their behalf from doing so in this way,” the statement added.
The British Commission added: “We urge any party or individual who wishes to challenge the process or outcome of the elections to do so peacefully and through the appropriate legal channels. We will be observing the course of legal challenges made.
“The 2023 elections are not only important to Nigeria and Nigerians, but to Africa and the world as a whole. As a long-term partner, the UK is committed to strengthening the ties between our countries and peoples, including by supporting democratic development.”
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