By Teslim Olawore
The United Kingdom and the United States of America on Thursday warned that there would be consequences for any attempt by individuals or group to interfere with the forthcoming general election in the country.
While both countries threatened to place a travel ban, including the refusal of visas on alleged election riggers and their family members, the UK also, says it would pursue the prosecution of any culprit of election violence under international laws.
The duo which made their stand on the election known in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja reiterated they did not have a preferred candidate in the election but wholly interested in the process.
“The conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria is essential not only for Nigeria but for the African continent.
“The United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections. The United States supports the Nigerian democratic process itself. We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process”, part of the statement read.
They said they would be joining other democratic nations to pay 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.
“We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process. Under U.S. immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members”, the US said.
The UK on its part assured that it11 would continue to provide significant support to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission and to Nigerian civil society to help them deliver credible elections.
“Our monitors will, in particular, be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media. We want 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.
“The UK is a friend and partner of Nigeria. We hope our continued support will play a role in helping Nigeria take a further step towards consolidating the progress made since democracy returned in 1999”, the statement read