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    Thursday, January 26, 2023

    US Imposes Visa Ban on ‘Nigerians Undermining Democracy’

    The United States has placed visa restrictions on Nigerians acting to undermine the country’s democracy barely one month before the 2023 general elections.

    According to the US, some affected persons’ family members will also be sanctioned.

    This was announced by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in a statement released on Wednesday, obtained by The Punch.

    He stated that the sanctioned individuals, the identities of whom he did not reveal, would be ineligible for US visas.

    The top diplomat also stated that some family members of those barred from entering the United States may face the same restrictions.

    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 aimed at Nigerians or the government.

    He described it as a reflection of the United States' commitment to assisting Nigeria's efforts to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.

    “The visa restrictions announced today are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria. The decision to impose visa restrictions reflects the commitment of the United States to support Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law,” the statement said.

    The development comes just two months after Rolf Olson, political counsellor at the US Embassy in Nigeria, stated that the US would impose visa sanctions on those who attempt to undermine Nigeria's democratic process.

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