2023 NIGERIA ELECTIONS: UK Profiles ‘Anti-Democratic’ Elements For Visa Ban

G128 - United Kingdom UK Flag British Union Jack Flag Great Britain ...If the words of the United Kingdom Government are anything to go by, visa ban dangles over the heads of individuals as comeuppance for their ignoble roles in seeking to sabotage the just-concluded 2023 Nigerian General Elections.
Notably, the UK Government claims it is collating relevant information to take action against some individuals who engaged in or incited electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours in the March 18, 2023, Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.

The British High Commission declared in a statement on Wednesday that the imposition of UK visa ban on such individuals will form part of the sanctions lined up against them.

The UK’s statement, which was signed by the Senior Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, came on the heels of a declaration by the United States Government take “all available actions” against those who undermined the just-concluded elections in Nigeria.

“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 UK statement read.

Commending the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for improved logistics during the Governorship Elections, when juxtaposed against the Presidential Election of February 25, 2023, the British High Commission stated: “More polling units opened on time, there was greater evidence of BVAS (Bimodal Voter Accreditation System) and IREV (INEC Result Viewing Portal) working and results uploaded in real time from polling units and collation centres. These are positive markers to build on for future elections.”

Noting that members of its observation mission observed violence, and voter suppression in numerous voting locations on Saturday, the statement added: “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 commitment to democracy by many Nigerians in spite of intimidation and hostility was acknowledged by the UK Government.

“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,” it stated, adding: “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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