The United States has placed visa restrictions on several individuals in Nigeria for undermining the country’s democratic process, according to a statement from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
`The identities of the sanctioned individuals were not revealed, but Blinken stated that they will be ineligible for US visas, and that some family members of those barred from entering the United States may also face the same restrictions.
The visa restriction was not aimed at Nigerians or the government, but rather a reflection of the United States’ commitment to assisting Nigeria’s efforts to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law, Blinken stated. He added that 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 US visas under this policy.
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This move comes just one month before the 2023 general elections in Nigeria and just two months after Rolf Olson, political counsellor at the US Embassy in Nigeria, stated that the US would impose visa sanctions on those who attempt to undermine Nigeria’s democratic process.
The visa restrictions were announced under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows the US to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in a foreign country. The US has previously imposed similar visa restrictions on individuals in other countries for similar reasons, such as in Venezuela and Myanmar.
This action from the US government shows its commitment to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria, and sends a strong message to those who may attempt to undermine the democratic process in the upcoming elections.