The Federal Government said that the decision of the United States Government to impose visa restriction on anyone that undermine the electoral process in the country, is disrespectful to the sovereignty of Nigeria.
KanyiDaily recalls that the US Government had recently slammed visa restriction on some Nigerians who undermined the democracy during Kogi and Bayelsa gubernatorial elections.
In a statement on Monday, US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo revealed that actions have also been taken against some persons in the run-up to the September and October 2020 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo.
Reacting in a statement issued on Friday, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ferdinand Nwonye, said its disrespectful to the Sovereignty of Nigeria for US to apply punitive measures such as visas restriction on its citizens.
Nwonye added thst it should be noted that there were ample provisions in the country’s laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian Government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners, specifically the US and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.
“They have also expressed their intention to take punitive measures against those they decide will be involved in what they termed as ‘undermining democracy’.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
“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.”
Nwoye stressed that that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commissions.
He noted that the federal government, and especially the President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
Nwoye noted that the President had continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, 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 Nigerian government expressed solidarity with the American government and people as regards their forthcoming election “which we hope will be free from interference and violence.”
KanyiDaily recalls that a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki had also asked the US Government to extend its visa ban to electoral officers, security officials and judicial officers who rig elections in Nigeria.