By Victoria Ojeme
The UK has threatened to ban anyone guilty of electoral violence ahead of the Ondo and Edo gubernatorial elections, to be held on September 19 and October 10, respectively.
This comes just 24 hours after the US government imposed a visa ban on election manipulators during the Kogi and Bayelsa state elections.
In a statement yesterday, the UK embassy in Nigeria also threatened to confiscate those people’s overseas assets, adding that it would send observers for the upcoming elections in the two states. The statement read: “As a friend and partner of Nigeria, we are closely following the run-up to the off-cycle gubernatorial 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 as an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
“We will be deploying observation missions in both the Edo and Ondo elections and will support civil society-led observation.
“The UK takes a strong stand against electoral violence and, just as we did in the 2019 general elections, will continue to take action against those we identify as responsible for the violence during the elections.
“This could include restrictions on your eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to assets in the UK or prosecution under international law.
“The UK will continue to provide support and participation as we move towards these elections. We urge the INEC, the Police and all the other agencies involved to work together to achieve free, fair and credible elections ”.
He added that the High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has met with leaders of the Congress of All Progressives, APC, and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and called for a smooth election. “Discussions centered on the need for party leaders to prevail over partisans to avoid violence before and after the elections. And we welcome the signing of the Edo candidates of the National Peace Committee and the peace agreement called by INEC, “the statement added.