Politics

2023: FG support US visa ban on election riggers

visa

*Says, Buhari readyto handover on May 29

By Doosuur Iwambe

The Federal Government disclosed on Monday that it will support any action including a visa ban to be imposed on any Nigerian who threatens the 2023 elections by the United States of America

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this who was speaking during the 20th edition of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) noted that whatever action taken against anyone who undermines the nation’s democracy, watered by the blood of many patriots, is right and justified.

“Let me be clear: whatever action is taken against anyone who undermines this democracy that has been watered by the blood of many of our patriots is right and justified. Us as a government, we are

proud to say that no Administration since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999 has shown more fidelity to the democratic process than ours, and no President since 1999 has been as unambiguous as President Muhammadu Buhari, in word and in deed, with regards to leaving office after the constitutionally-stipulated two terms.

“President Buhari has left no one in doubt of his dogged determination to ensure free, fair and credible elections, handover to a successor elected by Nigerians and then return to Daura after the May 29, 2023 handover date. As recently as this past Friday, when he visited the Emir of Daura, Mr President still told the Emirate that he would return and settle down in Daura after handing over on May 29, 2023.

“The President has also given unprecedented support to INEC while also signing into law the Electoral Bill 2022 that Nigerians have hailed as a reason to have confidence in the electoral process’’, Mohammed said.

The minister reiterated the position of the Buhari administration to ensure free, fair and credible elections as well as a smooth handover to a successor elected by Nigerians in May 29.

“As a government, we are proud to say that no administration, since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, has shown more fidelity to the democratic process than ours.

“No President, since 1999, has been as unambiguous as President Muhammadu Buhari, in word and indeed, with regards to leaving office after the constitutionally-stipulated two terms,” he added.

Mohammed said the scorecard series, during which ministers gave the giant strides of their ministries since 2015, was another indication of the administration’s determination to leave office on May 29, 2023.

According to him, the scorecard series was in essence, a presentation of the handover notes of the administration to those who elected them to office, as they prepare to leave in May.

“We have not been mired in any third term controversy like was witnessed under the Peoples Democratic Party.

“In fact, we are creating the template on a smooth transition of power that will guide future administrations.

“Let those who undermine our democracy be sanctioned, and let them carry their own cross.

“As a government, we have no reason to worry because our hands are clean,” he said.

The US Secretary of State, in the statement, had said his country was committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world.

He said: “Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election.

“Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be found ineligible for visas to the United States under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.

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“Certain family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.”

“Additional persons who undermine the democratic process in Nigeria—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Nigeria’s 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy.

“The visa restrictions announced today are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria.

“The decision to impose visa restrictions reflects the commitment of the United States to support Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law’’, Blinken said.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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