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UK, US announce sanctions for politicians who interfere with Nigerian polls

The United Kingdom and the United State have announced repercussions, including restrictions on travel for election-related violence by any politician in the general elections in Nigeria. .In a statement on Thursday, the British High Commission in Abuja noted that its 23 days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections and 37 days to the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections and reaffirms its strong support for free, fair and peaceful elections in Nigeria.

“We and our international partners remain committed supporters of Nigeria’s democracy. We do not support any party or individual and believe that the Nigerian people should be able to choose their leaders in an environment free from hate speech and insecurity.

“We continue to provide significant support to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission and to Nigerian civil society to help them deliver credible elections.

“We also regularly engage with actors across the political spectrum to encourage them to respect electoral rules and maintain an atmosphere of peace and calm,” the High Commission said.

It added that the UK will be deploying an extensive observation mission for the forthcoming elections, including coordinating with the EU’s Election Observation Mission.

According to the High Commission, the monitors will, in particular, be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media.

“We would like to remind all Nigerians that where the UK is aware of such attempts, this may have consequences for individuals. These could include their eligibility to travel to the UK, their ability to access UK based funds or lead to prosecution under international law,” it said.

It noted that the UK is a friend and partner of Nigeria and expresses the hope that “our continued support will play a role in helping Nigeria take a further step towards consolidating the progress made since democracy returned in 1999”.

In the same vein, the U.S. said in a statement on Thursday that the conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria “is important not only for Nigeria but for the African continent”.

It noted that the United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections and that the United States supports the Nigerian democratic process itself.

“We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process.

“We and other democratic nations will be paying close attention to the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections,” it said.

It reminds Nigerians that the US will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.

According to the statement, under U.S. immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members.

It welcomed the signing of peace pledges by Nigerian candidates and their commitment to a peaceful electoral process.

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