UK threatens visa ban against politicians over March 18 election violence

The United Kingdom government says the governorship and state House of Assembly elections held on March 18 were marred by violence, and voter suppression while vowing to sanction some individuals involved.

This was disclosed in a statement by the UK High Commission, Abuja, on Wednesday.

“Members of our observation mission personally observed violence, and voter suppression in numerous voting locations.

“We witnessed and received credible reports from other observer missions and civil society organisations of vote buying and voter intimidation, the destruction and hijacking of election materials and the general disruption of the process in numerous states including Lagos, Enugu and Rivers,” the statement reads.

The UK government said efforts are ongoing to collate information on individuals involved in the electoral violence witnessed during the polls while threatening visa bans and other relevant sanctions against those involved.

“The UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, said on 21 February, that the UK is prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours, and action could include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime. We can confirm that we are collating relevant information, with a view to taking action against some individuals,” the statement reads.

On Tuesday, the U.S. similarly said it was disturbed by widespread cases of ethnically-induced voter suppression in Lagos during the March 18 governorship election, saying such action would not go unpunished