By Gbenga Abulude
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has commended the United States over its fresh imposition of Visa restrictions on those undermining democracy and electoral process in Nigeria
The party applauded this measure and urges the United States Department of State to extend the Visa restrictions to include family members and assets of such anti-democratic agents who have destroyed the credibility of our electoral process.
Recall that the spokesperson of the US Department of State, Mr Morgan Ortagus, in a statement on Monday said the American government was imposing a visa restriction on Nigerians who allegedly participated in rigging elections held in Kogi and Bayelsa States respectively.
The move according to the US was to ensure democracy flourishes in Nigeria.
Also, the United Kingdom on Tuesday reiterated her “strong stand against election-related violence” as Nigeria prepares for gubernatorial polls in Edo and Ondo States.
A statement tweeted by the British High said, “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.
The statement further said the UK may impose travel restrictions among other measures on those identified to be responsible for violence.
According to the High Commission, “This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK-based assets or prosecution under international law.”
Meanwhile, the PDP in a statement, urges the United States to also invite the European Union as well as other nations, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, to impose similar sanctions on electoral violators, who are bent on destroying the country’s democracy.
It demanded an extension of the ban to their families, as well as confiscation of assets of such individuals to serve as stronger deterrent to protect innocent Nigerians who are left to bear the brunt of the misdeed of such unpatriotic persons.
The party said the Visa ban, if taken across the globe, would be a final warning to the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as compromised security and INEC officials, being used by the APC to perpetrate electoral violence and manipulations.
The statement reads in part: “It is instructive to note that this announcement by the US, which reinforces the determination for resistance in Nigeria, is also an unambiguous cautionary to the sacked national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, the APC governorship candidates in Edo, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his Ondo counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, over their plots to use violence to undermine the sanctity of the Edo and Ondo state governorship elections.
“Our party asserts that the position of the US Department of State is a confirmation that 2019 general elections, the November 2019 Kogi governorship election, as well as other elections under the Buhari regime were massively rigged with unrestrained violence against the people and rampant manipulations by the APC and their compromised security agents.
“The world is aware of how our compatriots were killed and maimed in Kano and various parts of our nation in the 2019 elections; how collation of results were compromised by relations of APC candidates and how compromised security operatives were used to frustrate the will of the people.
“Without saying, Nigerians know the individuals who unleashed violence to rig the November 2019 Kogi state governorship election; who deployed thugs and security agents to shoot and kill voters, cart away ballot boxes, used police helicopter to fire tear gas on Nigerians, burnt an innocent woman, Mrs Salome Abuh, alive, altered election result figures to make themselves winners.
“The US ban is therefore a firm support to our stiff resistance to plots by Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu, who have been overheating the polity in Edo state with serial attacks on other political parties while assembling thugs, cultists, fake policemen as well as their ‘tigers and lions” who they publicly instructed to invade polling centers to unleash violence and undermine the electoral process.
“In Ondo, Nigerians are already aware of how the self-confessed APC militant and former APC chairman in the state, Isaac Kekemeke, boasted that the APC will use violence to rig the October 10 election and that Governor Akeredolu was behind the violent political attacks rocking the state.
“It is instructive to note that after Kekemeke’s boast, INEC facility in Akure, Ondo state capital was set ablaze, leading to the destruction of not less than 5141 card readers meant for the election were destroyed.
“Furthermore, Nigerians know the faces of INEC and security officials used as political mercenaries to manipulate elections in Kogi, Ekiti, Osun and other states. Our party vehemently rejects the deployment of same individuals to Edo and Ondo.
“The presence of such persons is an invitation to crisis as the people of Edo and Ondo will use every means available and allowed in a democracy to resist them.
“Our party charges INEC and all security agencies to note that the world is watching and as such strive to act by the rules, knowing that a shameful end awaits those who undermine the will of the people.”