As the 2019 general elections draw ever closer, both the United States of America and the United Kingdom have threatened to punish anyone found guilty of instigating violence or planning to rig the general elections.
In separate statements made yesterday by the Embassy of the United States and the British High Commission in Abuja, both USA and UK pledged their commitment to ensuring free and fair elections in Nigeria.
Both USA and UK made it clear that the 2019 general elections are important not only for Nigeria but for the African continent in general.
These statements made by USA and UK are trooping in after politicians including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who in his latest 16-page letter had expressed doubt on the readiness and capability to conduct a free and fair election in the country.
According to the statements made, the two countries commended each and every political party for signing the peace accord and urged the presidential candidates to conduct themselves within the laws governing the country and the elections as well.
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The U.S statement read thus:
“The United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections. We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process.
“We and other democratic nations will be paying close attention to the 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.”
In addition, the United Kingdom also promised to continue assisting Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to make the electoral process credible and peaceful.