- The US government expressed deep concern over the violent voter intimidation, voter suppression, and use of ethically charged rhetoric during the March 18 election.
- The US government also threatened to apply sanctions including additional visa restrictions on those responsible or complicit in undermining the democratic process.
- It called on Nigerian authorities to hold accountable and bring to justice those involved in voter intimidation and suppression during the election process.
The United States US Government says that it is deeply troubled by the disturbing acts of violent voter intimidation and suppression as well as ethnically charged rhetoric used during the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections.
The US government said it will consider all available actions, including additional visa restrictions on individuals that are either responsible or complicit in undermining the democratic process in the country.
This disclosure is contained in a press statement issued on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, by the United States Embassy in Nigeria, where it noted that members of the US diplomatic mission observed the elections in Lagos and other places and witnessed some of these incidents first-hand.
What the US Government is saying
The statement from the US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria reads, ‘’Nigeria carried out the second round of its electoral process with gubernatorial and state assembly elections on March 18. The United States is deeply troubled by the disturbing acts of violent voter intimidation and suppression that took place during those polls in Lagos, Kano, and other states.
- ‘’Members of the U.S. diplomatic mission observed the elections in Lagos and elsewhere and witnessed some of these incidents first-hand. The use of ethnically charged rhetoric before, during, and after the gubernatorial election in Lagos was particularly concerning.
- ‘’We commend all Nigerian political actors, religious and community leaders, youth, and citizens who have chosen to reject and speak out against such violence and inflammatory language, affirming Nigerians’ commitment to and respect for the democratic process.’’
US threatens to apply sanctions including visa restrictions
The US government urged the Nigerian authorities to hold accountable and bring to justice any individual found to be involved in the intimidation of voters and voter suppression during the election process.
- It said, ‘’We call on Nigerian authorities to hold accountable and bring to justice any individuals found to have ordered or carried out efforts to intimidate voters and suppress voting during the election process. The United States likewise will consider all available actions, including additional visa restrictions, on individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Nigeria.
- ‘’Following the February 25 national elections, the United States joined other international observers in urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve voting processes and technical elements that experienced flaws in that voting round. The March 18 elections appear to have had significant operational improvements, as polling stations generally opened on time and most results were visible on an electronic viewing platform in a timely manner.
- ‘’The United States renews its call for any challenges to election results to go through established legal processes, which must not be interfered with. We further call for Nigeria’s people to work together as they participate in and continue to strengthen the country’s vibrant democracy.’’
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