The United Kingdom (UK) government has threatened to impose visa ban, carry out asset seizure, or even prosecute under international law, Nigerians, over election-related activities in the country.
The UK said it would take action against individuals who have been identified as being responsible for violence during the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo states.
The disclosure is contained in a statement issued by the British High Commission in Abuja on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.
The statement from the UK government is coming barely a day after the United States government imposed a visa ban on some Nigerians over their roles in the rigging of the November 2019 Governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, and some others over their activities in the run-up to September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo states elections.
The UK government stated that as a friend and partner of Nigeria, it is closely following the lead up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively. It noted that these elections are important, both as an essential element of effective governance within both states and an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
Part of the British High Commission’s statement reads, “Our High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has held meetings with leaders of the two main political parties, the APC and PDP. The discussions focused on the need for the parties’ leaders to prevail on supporters to avoid violence before and after the elections and we welcome the Edo candidates’ signature of the National Peace Committee and INEC convened peace accord today.
“We will be deploying observation missions to both the Edo and Ondo elections and supporting civil society led observation. The UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and, just as we did in the general election in 2019, will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during the elections. This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK based assets or prosecution under international law.’’
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The UK, however, said it would continue to provide support and engagement as they all move towards the elections.
They also urged INEC, the Police, and all other agencies involved to work together to deliver free, fair and credible elections.