By Gbenga Abulude
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has applauded the recent move by the United States Government to issue visa restrictions on Nigerians that committed electoral offences.
The purpose of the visa ban according to the American government was to restore fairness, credibility and transparency in Nigeria’s electoral processes.
The advocacy group, in a statement made available to The New Diplomat by its Executive Director, Mr Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), said the visa restriction was a step in the right direction and called on the British government and others to follow suit in punishing electoral offenders with visa ban which would serve as deterrents to others.
The statement by CISLAC reads: “We recognised the remarkable development as restoration of fast-eroding democratic principles and core values in the nation’s electoral processes, dominated by decades of unchecked violence, vote buying and ballot lootings.
“We express total support for the new policy, which has validated the years of persistent demands by Civil Society, Human Rights and Anti-corruption activists for stringent international measures to discourage electoral violence that paves way for electoral fraud and undermines democratic principles in Nigeria.
“We are not unaware of lack of political will at all levels of government to address electoral violence, in spite of the existence of laws and reports from several Panels and Commissions, with recommendations.
“We also welcome the pronouncement by the United State Government in anticipation of respect for sanity and sanctity of rules of law in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections, and beyond.
“We therefore, call on British and other Governments to follow suit in the imposition of Visa restrictions to discourage electoral offenders from using their respective countries as alternatives in harbouring electoral crimes.”
Recall that the US government, on Monday issued a statement, where it notified the Nigerian public on its imposition of visa restrictions on electoral offenders, particularly in the November 2019 election in Kogi and Bayelsa States and by extension in the forthcoming Edo and Ondo Elections.
This measure, according to the United States was to discourage rigging of election and encourage Nigerians to abide by the tenets of democracy.