By Victoria Ojeme
The United Kingdom has threatened to ban anyone guilty of electoral violence ahead of the Ondo and Edo governorship elections which come up on September 19 and October 10 respectively.
This is coming barely 24 hours after the United States government imposed visa ban on election riggers during Kogi and Bayelsa states elections.
In a statement yesterday, the UK embassy in Nigeria also threatened to seize overseas assets of such persons, adding that it would send observers for the upcoming elections in the two states. The statement read: “As a friend and partner of Nigeria we are closely following the lead up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively.
“These elections are important, both as an essential element of effective governance within both states and an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
“We will be deploying observation missions to both the Edo and Ondo elections and supporting civil society led observation.
“The UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and, just as we did in the general election in 2019, will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during the elections.
“This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK-based assets or prosecution under international law.
“The UK will continue to provide support and engagement as we move towards these elections. We urge INEC, the Police and all other agencies involved to work together to deliver free, fair and credible elections.”
It added that the High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has met with leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and called for a hitch-free election. “The discussions focused on the need for the parties’ leaders to prevail on supporters to avoid violence before and after the elections. And we welcome the Edo candidates’ signature of the National Peace Committee and INEC convened peace accord,’’ the statement added