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PDP backs US visa ban on election riggers, pushes for others

By Idowu Abdullahi,

Barely 24-hours afters after the United States of America imposed a visa restriction on election riggers in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the European Union as well as other nations, particularly the United Arab Emirates, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, to impose similar sanctions on electoral violators across the country.

It would be recalled that the US Government announced imposition of visa ban on some politically exposed persons in the country over what it described as their undemocratic actions during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa state elections and in the run-up to the forthcoming September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo state elections.

Through a statement released on Monday and signed by the spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, the US maintained that the said individuals operated with impunity and took actions capable of undermining gains being recorded in the country’s democratic journey.

“In July 2019, we announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who undermined the February and March 2019 elections. Today, the Secretary of State is imposing additional visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.

“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles. The Department of State emphasises that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights,” the statement said.

But, the main opposition party while commending the US over the move, said that it had become imperative for other countries to follow suit in imposing a ban on election riggers in a bid to sanitize the country’s political space.

Through a statement released to newsmen on Tuesday by the PDP’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the US including other countries to also extend the ban to families of politicians who are bent on undermining the country’s political process.

“PDP demands an extension of the ban to the families as well as confiscation of assets of such individuals to serve as stronger deterrent to protect innocent Nigerians who are left to bear the brunt of the misdeed of such unpatriotic persons.

“This Visa ban, if taken across the globe, would be a final warning to the leaders of All Progressives Congress, APC, as well as compromised security and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC officials, being used by the APC to perpetrate electoral violence and manipulations.

“It is instructive to note that this announcement by the US, which reinforces the determination for resistance in Nigeria, is also an unambiguous cautionary to the former national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, the APC governorship candidates in Edo, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his Ondo counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, over their plots to use violence to undermine the sanctity of the Edo and Ondo state governorship elections,” the statement said.

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