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UK to seize assets, impose visa ban on election riggers in Edo, Ondo

The United Kingdom has threatened to seize assets and impose visa restriction on individuals that are caught rigging during the Edo and Ondo State governorship elections.

“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,” the British High Commission in Nigeria said in a statement.

“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 threat by the UK came a day after the United States said it has imposed a visa ban on some Nigerians culpable for rigging during the Kogi and Bayelsa State governorship elections in 2019.

The US in a statement by the secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles in Nigeria.

Similarly, the UK said the Edo and Ondo State governorship 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.

The UK disclosed that its High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has held meetings with leaders of the two main political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to prevail on their supporters to avoid violence before and after the elections.

Already both leading candidates for the election, APC’s Osagie Ize-Iyamu and PDP’s Godwin Obaseki have signed a peace accord by the National Peace Committee and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The UK, however, noted that it will be deploying observation missions to monitor both the Edo and Ondo elections and supporting civil society led observation of proceedings in both states.

“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,” the British High Commission in Nigeria said.

Source: guardian.ng