The United States of America, USA, and the United Kingdom, UK, have said that actions will be taken against anyone who interferes with the 2019 elections in Nigeria.
Both the US and UK, announced that there will be repercussions, including visa restrictions, for election interference and election-related violence, in the coming polls.
In a statement made on Thursday, both countries described the elections as very important to not just Nigeria, but also to Africa.
The two powerful countries, said that their threat of sanction against those who attempt to disrupt the Electoral process, is to ensure that the polls are as free and fair, as is expected globally.
Both nations promised to help the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure that the elections are handled successfully.
Recall, that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had raised an alarm, that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, was planning to rig the forthcoming elections .
Below are the full statements by both the United States and the United Kingdom.
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 US statement…
The conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria is important, not only for Nigeria but for the African continent.
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.
We and other democratic nations will be paying close attention to the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process, or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections.
We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence, or undermining the democratic process. Under US Immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members.
We welcome the signing of peace pledges by Nigerian Candidates, and their commitment to a peaceful Electoral process.