Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has asked the United States of America to go beyond the visa restrictions it placed on unnamed individuals, presumed to be politicians for undermining elections, and extent the travel ban to electoral officers and security personnel who aid in rigging elections.
Speaking on Tuesday at a Centre for Advancement of Civil Liberties event to mark this year’s International Day of Democracy, Saraki also asked the European Union and the United Kingdom to place similar visa restrictions on those he described as enemies of democracy like the US has done.
He said, “The US decision to place visa restrictions on certain Nigerian politicians for their ignoble roles in the 2019 elections is commendable.
“I call on the UK and the European Union to follow suit. This is necessary to send the right and strong signal that those who undermine democracy in Nigeria are enemies of the rest of the democratic world.”
He said, “The sanctions should go beyond politicians and include electoral officers, security officials and judicial officers who undermine our democracy by their actions during and after elections.”
Saraki said, “May be there should be a law that prevents the deployment of the military for election assignments. We should ensure strict compliance with the law on this and even go further to enshrine this in our constitution.
“It is also important we come in strong in the enforcement of the provisions of the law which provides for punishment of politicians, law enforcement agents, ordinary citizens and electoral officers who are caught subverting the electoral process.”
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had on Monday announced visa restrictions on individuals for their actions during elections in both Kogi and Bayelsa states.
A State Department said, “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.”
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The statement said, “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.”
It said, “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.”