The United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) on Thursday, January 24, revealed that they will have serious punishments for anyone who is involved with any crime related to Nigeria’s forthcoming general elections.
Referring to the polls as being of grand importance to the entire African continent, both nations said that the repercussions may include visa restrictions.
The US mission in Nigeria in a statement said:“The conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria is important not only for Nigeria, but for the African continent.” It added: “The United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections.
The United States supports the Nigerian democratic process itself. We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process.” On its part, the UK government said: “23 days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections and 37 days to the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections, the British High Commission in Abuja would like to reaffirm our strong support for free, fair and peaceful elections in Nigeria.
“We and our international partners remain committed supporters of Nigeria’s democracy. We do not support any party or individual and believe that the Nigerian people should be able to choose their leaders in an environment free from hate speech and insecurity.
“We continue to provide significant support to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission and to Nigerian civil society to help them deliver credible elections.
“We also regularly engage with actors across the political spectrum to encourage them to respect electoral rules and maintain an atmosphere of peace and calm.
“We will be deploying an extensive observation mission for the forthcoming elections, including coordinating with the EU’s Election Observation Mission. Our monitors will in particular be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media.
“We would like to remind all Nigerians that where the UK is aware of such attempts, this may have consequences for individuals. These could include their eligibility to travel to the UK, their ability to access UK based funds or lead to prosecution under international law.
“The UK is a friend and partner of Nigeria. We hope our continued support will play a role in helping Nigeria take a further step towards consolidating the progress made since democracy returned in 1999.”
The deputy British high commissioner, Harriet Thompson, on Friday, November 30, 2018, assured Nigeria that the British government had no intention of interfering in the 2019 general election.
Thompson, however, said the British government would be monitoring the election closely and urged the Nigerian government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure free and fair elections.