The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has thrown his weight behind the United States visa ban on alleged election riggers in Nigeria.
The US imposed visa restrictions on some Nigerians accused of undermining democracy, noting that this was part of the action to advance democracy and tackle corruption in Nigeria.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, said that the sanctioned individuals, whose names he did not reveal, would be ineligible for the US visa.
The top-ranking diplomat also explained that some family members of those barred from the US may be subjected to the same restriction.
He stated, ”We are committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world. Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election.
‘’Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be found ineligible for visas to the United States under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.
‘’Certain family members of such persons 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 U.S. visas under this policy.’’
Blinken clarified that the visa restriction was not targeted at the Nigerian people or the government.
But reacting to the ban via his Twitter handle on Wednesday, Atiku urged other “established democracies” to join the US in placing a visa ban on election riggers in Nigeria.
“I welcome the United States visa ban on anti-democratic elements whose actions seek to undermine the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
“I encourage other established democracies to follow suit to ensure that there’s no hiding place for the enemies of our democracy,” the former vice president wrote.