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September 30, 2020

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Electoral offenders to face visa ban, asset forfeiture—UK

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The United Kingdom has warned of imposing sanctions, including visa ban and asset seizure, on Nigerians who incite or execute violence in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said in a statement on Tuesday that the UK greatly values the Nigerian democracy and thus will not condone any violent act that may undermine the democratic process in the coming elections.

“As a friend and partner of Nigeria we are closely following the lead up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively.

“These elections are important, both as an essential element of effective governance within both states and an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions,” the statement read.

The warning came days after the United States government announced it is imposing visa restrictions on some Nigerians undermining the electoral processes in the run-up to the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.

Ms Laing said the UK would deploy observers to the two states to monitor the elections.

The British High Commissioner who met leaders of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday reminded the politicians that apart from their asset being seized in the UK, they could experience a worst case scenario of prosecution.

“The UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and, just as we did in the general election in 2019, will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during the 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 statement said.

The warning comes a day after the United States issued a similar statement, announcing visa restrictions on some politicians it said orchestrated violence and rigging during the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

The British High Commissioner also spoke on the peace accord recently signed by both political parties and urged INEC and security agents to ensure peaceful and fair elections.

“We urge INEC, the Police and all other agencies involved to work together to deliver free, fair and credible elections,” she said in the statement.

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