The executive governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, along with his Imo and Rivers counterparts, Hope Ozodinma and Nyesom Wike, and a host of other politicians, have been shortlisted on the list of many politicians who will not be visiting the United States of America any time soon for tempering with the tenets of democratic rules in Nigeria during the last presidential and State House of Assembly elections.
Bello, Uzodinma, and Wike made headlines in March after they superintended over what many describe as the “worst display of electoral malfeasance and rigging in Nigeria’s history” by marshaling the resolve that suits their selfish political interests, thereby undermining democratic principles.
In a statement on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said, “The United States is committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world. Today, I am announcing that we have taken steps to impose visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process during Nigeria’s 2023 elections cycle.”
The Secretary of State explained that the new visa ban is specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the government of Nigeria as a whole.
The statement further explained that these individuals, under the US Immigration and Nationality Act, will be subject to restrictions on visas to the United States under a policy covering those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy.
According to Blinken, “these individuals have been involved in intimidation of voters through threats and physical violence, the manipulation of vote results, and other activities that undermine Nigeria’s democratic process.”
The triad of Bello, Uzodinma, and Wike have in recent times contributed immensely to the downfall of democracy in Nigeria. The US has now deemed it necessary to punish electoral offenders by placing visa bans on them.