The US government has warned that sponsors of violence in Nigeria’s February elections will be denied visas, even as it stated that it does not have a preferred candidate in Nigeria’s general election.
Mr. Will Stevens, the United States consul general, said this in a town hall meeting organised by the Niger-Delta Open Observatory, NOGO, in Asaba, Delta state, on Saturday.
“The US does not have a preferred candidate, full stop! We are not interested in a particular party or candidate. What we are interested in is free, fair, and credible elections that represent the people,” Stevens said.
“These elections are important. Nigeria is the fifth largest democracy in the world; so, when the people of Nigeria come to vote, they are showing the strength of democracy to the rest of the world.
“We in the United States will discourage any politicians, citizens, or other parties who are encouraging electoral violence or seeking to undermine the electoral process.”
In 2020, the US said it imposed visa restrictions on some individuals for their actions during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
Mike Pompeo, the then secretary of state, said actions had also been taken against some persons in the run-up to the September and October 2020 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo.
“One thing we have done in the past and continue to do is that those who seek to undermine the democratic process can and will be found ineligible for a visa to the US,” Pompei had said at the time.