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US to Sanction Polls Riggers, Others

The United States on Monday reiterated its determination to im­pose visa restrictions on Nigerians found to have incited violence or in­terfered with the electoral process.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in a statement yestetday said the United states would shut its doors on people in­volved in any form of violence dur­ing the polls.

“Anyone found to have incited violence or interfered with elec­toral processes will be unwelcome in the United States and subject to visa sanctions,” she said.

However, she did not give any names of those considered for sanctions.

According to Ms. Thomas- Greenfield, while the elections were generally without significant scale of violence, and irregularities in some parts of the country, some people were resolved to undermine the will of Nigerians and interfere with electoral processes, resorting to violence and voter intimidation.

She commended the Indepen­dent National Electoral Commis­sion (INEC) and its chairman, At­tahiru Jega. She also encouraged Nigeria and other nations to con­tinue to explore the use of relevant technologies in future elections.

“Despite some technical glitch­es, it is clear that technology and use of social media —INEC’s online posting of results for each polling unit, live tweeting of results, the use of biometric permanent voter cards and electronic card readers — improved efficiency and limited fraud.”

Ms. Thomas-Greenfield added, “Now more than ever, it is up to all Nigerians to stay united so that Ni­geria can move forward with a clear set of priorities for the future.”

She said the U.S. welcomed all commitments made by the outgo­ing and the incoming presidents towards a peaceful transition pro­cess.

“This next phase is critical as the world continues its hopeful watch for what happens in Nige­ria,” she said.

The conclusion of a peaceful electoral process in Nigeria, she said, would serve as an example to other nation preparing for elec­tions, adding that, “Nigeria’s de­mocracy will be a beacon across the continent and beyond”.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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