The United States government on Wednesday reiterated its decision to deny or cancel visas for any Nigerian, who try to undermine the 2023 general elections.
The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard made the assertions in Abuja at the Multi-Stakeholders Dialogue with the theme: “Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Fostering Youth Action for Peace and Stability’’.
The dialogue was organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in collaboration with Building Blocks for Peace Foundation.
The envoy said: “ The United States stands firm with Nigerian voters’ demand and desire for transparency and electoral integrity.
“Individual, who undercut or undermine the democratic process in any way, including through intimidation and violence, may be found ineligible for visas to travel to the United States.
“We took steps in the past to impose U.S’ visa restrictions against anyone complicit in undermining the electoral process.
“And in fact, Secretary of State, Blinken, announced just last week that we are imposing sanctions linked to past such behaviours.
“We will similarly deny or cancel visas for those who try to undermine the upcoming elections.
“Visa records are confidential, so we won’t announce the identities of those subject to visa sanctions.
“But, I can tell you I am personally aware of people whose travel to the U.S has been or will be blocked on these grounds.
“We look to all Nigerians to speak out against the use of violence or inflammatory rhetoric.’’
According to her, politicians and candidates have every right to challenge their opponents’ stance on issues.
“But, the use of inflammatory rhetoric and intimidation, and irresponsible incitements to violence, are extremely harmful to the country and to public faith in elections.
“It is also essential that candidates and their parties and supporters do not make brash predictions of victory or instantly claim fraud, if they lose at the ballot box.
“Candidates and parties that seek to run for public office must accept one fundamental truth – that losing is always possible.
“If a candidate is not willing to accept the possibility that he or she might be defeated, then he, or they probably should not be running for office in the first place.
“There is no true democratic election in which the outcome is foretold