The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it had imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians it said were involved in trying to undermine democracy in presidential and parliamentary elections this year.
The department did not name the individuals or say how many were affected by the visa restrictions. President Muhammadu Buhari won a second term in February in an election marred by delays, logistical glitches and violence.
“These individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights,” spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
“The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government,” Ortagus added.
She explained that the decision reflected the Department’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government in its anti-corruption crusade and efforts to strengthen democracy, accountability and respect for human rights.
“The United States is a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy.
“We commend all those Nigerians who participated peacefully in the February and March 2019 elections and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes.
“As Nigeria marks the 20th anniversary of a return to democratic rule this year, we remain committed to working together to continue to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations.
“We condemn those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process,” the spokesperson added