The United States Government have imposed a travel and visa issuance ban on certain individuals who allegedly rigged the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. The statement was made by an official of the US state department on Tuesday.
There are no details yet on those affected by the ban as the statement, did not list the names of the individuals or give any hint on how many people are placed on the visa ban list. The statement however stated clearly that the visa ban was for those who undermined the democratic process during the 2019 general elections.
Morgan Ortagus, a spokeswoman of the state department said: “These individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights.” It is not clear what criteria was used to make the list.
During the elections and campaign period, some analysts had expected some reactions from the United states Governments to some of the inflammatory rhetoric that were credited to politicians who were averse to any foreign intervention during the election. It would be recalled that a governor of a Northern State had during an interview on a national network television made the following controversial comments: “Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags,”. The comments was widely believed to be targeted on foreign influences in international politics like the EU, UK and US.
It however remains unclear if such a comment qualifies for “undermining democratic principles and human rights” in the consideration of the US state Department. It is believed that as events unfold during the next few months, there will be a clearer picture on the travel ban. Pundits are left to speculate on the subject and the targets of the action for now.