BBC News, Abuja
The United States government has announced a visa ban on some unnamed Nigerians “for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election”.
In a statement on Wednesday, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken described the action as a reflection of his government’s “commitment to supporting Nigeria’s aspiration to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law”.
The senior US diplomat explained that the individuals affected will not be granted visas to enter the US, “under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria”.
He also said that their family members 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 statement said further.
Mr Blinken, however, clarified that the visa ban was not targeted at the Nigerian people or the government.
It comes barely two months after the political counsellor at the US embassy in Nigeria, Rolf Olson, made a similar statement.
In the lead-up to the Edo and Ondo governorship polls of 19 September and 10 October 2020, the US government also announced visa restrictions on some individuals.
The country is due to hold general elections on 25 February.