The United States Government has announced visa restrictions on Nigerians who are accused of sabotaging the country’s democracy, noting that this was part of the action to advance democracy and tackle corruption in Nigeria.
This is coming barely 2 months after the political counsellor at the US Embassy in Nigeria, Rolf Olson, at an event, said that the US would impose visa sanctions on people who try to undermine Nigeria’s democratic process.
This disclosure is contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, where he said that the sanctioned individuals, whose names he did not reveal, would be ineligible for US visas.
Blinken also explained that some family members of those barred from the US may also be subjected to the same restriction.
The US committed to advancing democracy in Nigeria
Blinken in the statement said, ”We are committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world. 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.
‘’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.’’
Visa restrictions targeted at certain individuals
Blinken also clarified that the visa restriction was not targeted at the Nigerian people or the government.
He stated, ‘’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.’’
The press release did not mention anyone specifically targeted.
For catch up
This is not the first time, the United States Government is threatening to carry out such actions against Nigerians that undermine democracy.
Recall that in January 2019 before the general election in February of that year, the US government had announced visa restrictions on Nigerians who “sabotaged” the country’s democracy.