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BREAKING: US announces visa ban on Nigerians undermining democracy

 

The United States has announced visa restrictions on some Nigerians accused of undermining democracy, noting that this was part of the action to advance democracy and tackle corruption in Nigeria. The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, said that the sanctioned individuals, whose name he did not reveal, would be ineligible for US visas. The top-ranking diplomat also explained that some family members of those barred from the US may also be subjected to the same restriction.

He stated, ”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.’’ Blinken clarified that the visa restriction was not targeted at the Nigerian people or the government. He described it as a reflection of the US government’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s aspiration to combat 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 said. The development is coming barely two months after the political counselor at the US Embassy in Nigeria, Rolf Olson, said that the US would impose visa sanctions on people who try to undermine Nigeria’s democratic process.

Speaking at the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship alumni association seminar last November, Olson said sanctions had been placed on persons who undermined the nation’s election before and would be repeated in the next election. He said, ‘’Even a small number of troublemakers can cause substantial havoc to an election. It takes a comprehensive effort to try to eliminate the use of violence and inflammatory rhetoric. “Individuals seeking to undermine the democratic process, including through violence, may be found ineligible for visas to the United States. We have imposed visa restrictions in the past against those responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process, and remain fully willing to do so again in the context of the upcoming elections.”

 

Source: Punch

 

 

Gunmen kill Imo APC ward chairman, kidnap others

Gunmen have killed the chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Umuchoke ward in Okwe in the Onuimo Local Government of Imo State, Christian Ihim. The gunmen after killing Ihim, who is popularly known as Zako, kidnapped five other chieftains of the ruling party in the community.

Community sources told our correspondent on Wednesday that the attackers shot repeatedly through the night making the villagers flee. Apart from killing and kidnapping the APC chieftains, the gunmen also invaded a neighbouring community called Okwelle and also kidnapped a female member of the APC identified as Onyinyechi Egenti.

The slain chairman is said to be a former aide of the immediate past national Organising secretary of APC, Emma Ibediro. One of the sources told The PUNCH that the community has been deserted. A source said, “The ward chairman of APC in Umuchoke Okwe in Onuimo Local Government Area has been killed. Apart from killing him they also kidnapped five APC members in the community. They also went to the Okwelle community and kidnapped an APC female member known as Onyinyechi Egenti. Our community is on the run now. They shot like it was a war period.”

Our correspondent recalls that gunmen had on December 15 killed the Labour Party candidate for the Onuimo LGA state House of Assembly election, Christopher Elehu, popularly known as Wasco, after they set ablaze his country home in Okwe community. Also, gunmen have kidnapped two community leaders in Ogbaku in the Mbaitoli LGA of the state. The abduction of the two community leaders had put the community in a state of confusion.

The victims were identified as Fidelis Nwaebele and Kelechi Iherizie. A source in the community who craved anonymity said, “They came around 7 pm. They drove to Fidelis Nwaebele house, released several gunshots and caught him. They later proceeded to Kelechi Iherizie’s shop surrounded him and caught him too.”

When contacted, the Imo State Police Command spokesperson, Henry Okoye, promised to get back to our correspondent after enquiries but was yet to do so as of the time of filing this report. The killing came a few days after the Sole Administrator of the Ideato North LGA, Chris Ohizu, was kidnapped and beheaded after his abductors collected N6 million ransom.

 

Source: Punch