Prosecute Individuals Behind Violence, Suppression Of Voters During Elections, US Tells Nigerian Govt

U.S Asks Buhari Govt To Prosecute Those Behind Violent Voter Suppression During Elections

1 year ago
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The United States has called on the Nigerian authorities to diligently prosecute individuals found to have been involved in activities that led to suppression and intimidation of voters during the just concluded 2023 general elections.

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In a statement released on Tuesday, 21st March 2023 the US Mission in Nigeria expressed concern about “the disturbing acts of violent voter intimidation and suppression” that took place, especially during the 18 March governorship and State Assembly elections across the country.

The statement said, “Members of the U.S. diplomatic mission observed the elections in Lagos and elsewhere and witnessed some of these incidents first-hand.”

It strongly condemned the spread of ethnic hate messages during and after the governorship elections, particularly in Lagos.

The Mission said it would consider additional visa restrictions and other sanctions on Nigerian political actors found to have a connection, either directly or indirectly, with election violence, suppression and intimidation of voters.

“We call on Nigerian authorities to hold accountable and bring to justice any individuals found to have ordered or carried out efforts to intimidate voters and suppress voting during the election process.  

“The United States likewise will consider all available actions, including additional visa restrictions, on individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Nigeria.”

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It commended Nigerian political actors, religious and community leaders, youth, and citizens who spoke out, condemned and stood against acts of electoral violence, affirming “their commitment and respect for the democratic process.”

The Mission recalled that following what happened during the  25th February election, it joined other international observers in urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve voting processes and technical elements (like the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System) that experienced flaws in that voting round. 

It noted that the 18th March elections “appear to have had significant operational improvements, as polling stations generally opened on time and most results were visible on an electronic viewing platform in a timely manner.”

It urged all individuals and political parties aggrieved about the outcome of the elections to follow the legal process to seek redress.

“The United States renews its call for any challenges to election results to go through established legal processes, which must not be interfered with.  We further call for Nigeria’s people to work together as they participate in and continue to strengthen the country’s vibrant democracy,” the statement added.

Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.


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