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US criticizes Nigerian politicians for undermining democracy and imposes visa ban

Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken testifies during his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

A visa ban on some Nigerians and their family members has drawn criticism from the United States for harming the democracy of that nation.

The move was part of Washington’s effort to foster democracy and combat corruption in Nigeria, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday.

Even though the top US ambassador remained mute about the impacted people, he claimed that they had been punished for their roles in the country’s recent election’s opposition campaign.

Blinken noted that neither the government nor citizens of Nigeria were the aim of the visa ban.

Allegations of massive irregularities, including vote-buying and over-voting, rocked the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States that were contested in the second part of last year.

Last year, the US and British governments pledged to apply visa restrictions on those who advocate violence and those who are said to be interfering with Nigeria’s political process.

“We are devoted to fostering democracy in Nigeria and throughout the world,” Blinken stated. I’m announcing visa limitations for a select group of people in Nigeria today due to their interference with the democratic process during a recent election in that country.

In accordance with a policy to restrict visas for persons deemed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria, these individuals will be declared ineligible for visas to the United States under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

‘’Certain family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. Additional persons who undermine the democratic process in Nigeria—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Nigeria’s 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for US visas under this policy.

‘’The visa restrictions announced today (Wednesday) are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria. The decision to impose visa restrictions reflects the commitment of the United States to support Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.”


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