US To Sanction Nigerians Who Incited Violence During Elections

The United States,US, government yesterday announced its resolve to impose visa restrictions on any Nigerian found to have incited violence or interfered with the electoral process in the course of Nigeria’s general elections.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who disclosed this in a statement released yesterday, stated that her country will shut its doors on people involved in any form of violence during the polls.

According to her, “Anyone found to have incited violence or interfered with electoral processes will be unwelcome in the United States and subject to visa sanctions.”

While observing that the elections were generally without a significant scale of violence and irregularities in some parts of Nigeria, Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said some people were resolved to undermine the will of Nigerians and interfere with electoral processes, resorting to violence and voter intimidation.

The diplomat, who expressed the regret of the US over loss of lives and property during the process, asserted that violence and rigging was unacceptable in a democratic electoral process.

Meanwhile, she commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and its chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and encouraged Nigeria and other nations to continue to explore the use of relevant technologies in future elections.

According to her, “Despite some technical glitches, it is clear that technology and use of social media-INEC’s online posting of results for each polling unit, live tweeting of results, the use of biometric permanent voter cards and electronic card readers improved efficiency and limited fraud.”

“Now more than ever, it is up to all Nigerians to stay united so that Nigeria can move forward with a clear set of priorities for the future,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

She noted that Washington welcomed all commitments made by the outgoing and the incoming Presidents towards a peaceful transition process.

“This next phase is critical as the world continues its hopeful watch for what happens in Nigeria.

“Nigerian democracy will be a beacon across the continent and beyond,” she said while maintaining that her country looked forward to the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari on May 29 which would signal the beginning of a new chapter of the relationship between the two countries.