The United States government has announced visa restriction on Nigerians who “undermined” the country’s democracy, stressing that the ban was not targeted at the Nigerian people or the government but specific individuals.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the sanctioned individuals, whose names were not mentioned, will not be eligible for US visas. The US top diplomat noted that some family members of those barred from the US may also be refused a visa to the United States.
“We are committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world. Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election.
“Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be found ineligible for visas to the United States under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.
“Certain family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. Additional persons who undermine the democratic process in Nigeria—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Nigeria’s 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy,’’ he stated.
According to Bliken, this position demonstrated the US government’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s aspiration to tackle corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.
“The visa restrictions announced today are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria. The decision to impose visa restrictions reflects the commitment of the United States to support Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law,’’ the statement added.