Uk Threatens Sanctions On Edo, Ondo Poll Violators As Pdp Hails Fresh Us Visa Ban On Election Riggers
Barely 24 hours after the United States imposed visa restrictions on politicians who perpetrated electoral violence in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the United Kingdom has threatened stiffer penalties for individuals involved in similar crimes in the September 19 and October 10 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, respectively.
The UK threatened to, among other things, deny such persons access to their assets in Britain in addition to visa restrictions and possible prosecution under international law.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘UK statement on the upcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections,’ on its Twitter handle on Tuesday.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, in the statement, said she held meetings with the leaders of the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party on the Saturday’s governorship elections in Edo State.
The statement read “The UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and just as we did in the general election in 2019, we will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during elections.
“This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK-based assets or prosecution under international law.”
The Peoples Democratic Party has commended the US for its fresh imposition of visa ban on those undermining Nigeria’s democracy and electoral process.
The party gave the commendation in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ologbondiyan urged the US Department of State to include family members and assets of such anti-democratic agents who had destroyed the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process.
He urged the US to invite the European Union as well as other nations, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, to impose similar sanctions on electoral violators, who were bent on destroying Nigeria’s democracy.
He said: “The PDP further demands an extension of the ban to families as well as confiscation of assets of such individuals.
“This is to serve as stronger deterrent to protect innocent Nigerians who are left to bear the brunt of the misdeed of such unpatriotic persons.”
Ologbondiyan said the visa ban, if taken across the globe, would be a final warning to political leaders as well as compromised security and electoral officials being used to perpetrate electoral violence and manipulations.
He added that it was instructive to note that the announcement by the US was an unambiguous cautionary to those plotting to use violence to undermine the sanctity of the Edo and Ondo States governorship elections.
Ologbondiyan added that the US ban was, therefore, a firm support to PDP stiff resistance to plots by those who had been overheating the polity in Edo State with serial attacks on other political parties.
He said it was a warning on those assembling thugs, cultists, fake policemen, who had been instructed to invade polling centres to unleash violence and undermine the electoral process in Edo and Ondo States.
Ologbondiyan advised the Independent National Electoral Commission and all security agencies to note that the world was watching, thereby the need for them to act by the rules.
He said: “The PDP, in commending the U.S., urges Nigerians, particularly in Edo and Ondo states to remain at alert and strengthen their resolve by voting and firmly defending their votes from the polling and collation centres to the final declaration of results.
“This should be done with the determination to unbridle the instrument of resistance to anybody at all who attempts to undermine their will at any level of the process.”
It promised to continue providing support for the polls and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the police and other agencies involved in the electoral process to deliver free, fair and credible elections.