President Buhari: Govt slams US, UK visa ban on electoral offenders an insult

By Lizzy Okoji/Abuja

The Nigerian government said it was disrespectful to the sovereignty of the country for any foreign government to apply punitive measures such as visa ban on its citizens.

The Nigerian government made this known in a statement issued by Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday in Abuja.

Nigeria was responding to the recent announcement of the U.S. and the United Kingdom to impose visa restrictions on those who undermine electoral processes.

The Nigerian Government said it was committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners, especially the U.S. and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.

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“They have also expressed their intentions to take punitive measures against those who decide to, in what they termed as, undermine democracy.

“It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.

“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.

“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led Peace Committee.

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“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.

“It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.

“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and U.S. to cooperate with our relevant agencies,” the government said.

The government called on the partners to support security agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.

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The Nigerian government also expressed solidarity with the government and people of the U.S. as regards their forthcoming election, which it hoped would be free from interference and violence.