2019: US, UK reiterate support for free, fair, peaceful elections

…to sanction violators of peaceful democratic process

=By Funmi Falobi=

United States and United Kingdom have reiterated their support for a genuine free, fair, transparent and peaceful 2019 elections in Nigeria.

According to the two world power, the conduct of the coming elections in the country is important not only for Nigeria, but for the African continent.

The US in a statement said that, “The United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections.  The United States supports the Nigerian democratic process itself.  We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process.

“We, and other democratic nations, will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections.  We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.  Under U.S. immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members.”

The US added that it welcome the signing of peace pledges by Nigerian candidates and their commitment to a peaceful electoral process.

Similarly, the UK said that it will continue to provide significant support to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and to Nigerian civil society to help them deliver credible elections.  It further said that it will also regularly engage with actors across the political spectrum to encourage them to respect electoral rules and maintain an atmosphere of peace and calm.

“The British High Commission in Abuja would like to reaffirm our strong support for free, fair and peaceful elections in Nigeria. We and our international partners remain committed supporters of Nigeria’s democracy.  We do not support any party or individual and believe that the Nigerian people should be able to choose their leaders in an environment free from hate speech and insecurity. “

The UK said it will deploy an extensive observation mission for the forthcoming elections, including coordinating with the European Union, EU’s Election Observation Mission.  “Our monitors will in particular be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media. We would like to remind all Nigerians that where the UK is aware of such attempts, this may have consequences for individuals.  These could include their eligibility to travel to the UK, their ability to access UK based funds or lead to prosecution under international law.

 

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