Nigerian politicians responsible for undermining the democratic process in general elections last year were slapped by visa restrictions imposed by the United States Department of State on September 14.
However, their names remain classified — both the US and Nigerian governments have yet to release the list of offenders’ names.
Nigerian elections held last year on February 29 was won by incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, with 15 million votes. Buhari defeated his closest rival, businessman and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, of the Peoples Democratic Party, who garnered 11 million votes.
In a State Department statement, US officials condemned the 2019 election’s acts of “violence, intimidation and corruption that harmed Nigerians,” and warned ahead of off-cycle elections to “uphold the tenets of democracy and facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, conducted in an appropriately transparent and non-violent manner.”
While this statement did not contain any specific details on how they determined who to add to this offenders’ list, past pronouncements reveal clues.
On January 24, 2019, the United States Embassy in Nigeria, on the heels of the general elections slated for February, warned “paying close attention” to the actions of Nigerian politicians who “instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections.”
The US Mission in Nigeria also emphasized that visa restrictions will be applied to perpetrators and their family members. The US State Department reiterated this threat on July 23, 2019.
SaharaReporters, an online news platform, allegedly claimed that four Nigerian politicians were among those slammed with a visa ban.
However, Global Voices could neither confirm nor deny this report through contact with the Nigerian US Embassy.