Edo/Ondo polls: FG expresses concerns over threats of sanctions by US, UK

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The Federal Government on Friday expressed concern over the visa restrictions imposed by the United States on unnamed politicians in Nigeria for alleged involvement in electoral violence during the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship polls.

The government also expressed dismay over the statements issued by the US and the United Kingdom on the Saturday’s governorship elections in Edo State and the October 10 Ondo State gubernatorial polls.

The two countries had vowed to place sanctions on anyone who perpetrated violence during the Edo and Ondo elections, including imposing visa restrictions and blocking them from accessing their assets and prosecuting them under international law.

Reacting to the comments of its western allies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement stated that it had taken note of their concerns regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo.

The government explained that the President Muhammadu Buhari has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during, and after the elections.

The statement signed by the ministry’s spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, added that the President also supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee.

Furthermore, it explained that there were ample provisions in the nation’s laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.

However, it admonished the UK and US to cooperate with the relevant agencies by providing them concrete evidence of observed misconduct “to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.”

“It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally,” the statement noted.

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The government in the statement highlighted that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.

“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial, and security support to the electoral process.

“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the European Union, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with our relevant agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course,” the government stated.

“Finally, the government expressed solidarity with the American government and people as regards their forthcoming election “which we hope will be free from interference and violence.”

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