The Federal Government has strongly opposed and expressed concern over the visa restrictions imposed by the U.S. on unnamed Nigerian politicians for alleged involvement in electoral violence and rigging during the Kogi and Bayelsa states gubernatorial elections.
It also challenged the statements made by the United States and the United Kingdom on the governorship elections holding in Edo State on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Ondo State on Oct. 10.
The US and UK had also vowed to sanction anyone who perpetrates violence during the Edo and Ondo elections, consequence of which includes imposing visa restrictions and blocking them from accessing their assets and prosecuting them under international law.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reacting to the comments of its western allies in a statement on Friday, stated that it had taken their concerns regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo into account.
The government explained that President Muhammadu Buhari has on several occasions urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during, and after the elections.
According to the statement, Buhari also gives his full support to patriotic non-government owned initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee.
It went further to explain that Nigeria’s constitution has ample provisions for the sanctioning of violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
The government therefore admonished the US and UK to work in cooperation with the relevant electoral and security agencies by providing them concrete evidence of observed misconduct “to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.”
The statement said; “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.”
“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial, and security support to the electoral process.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the European Union, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with our relevant agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.
Finally, the government expressed solidarity with the American government and people as regards their forthcoming election “which we hope will be free from interference and violence.”
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