UK Enlists Politicians Engaged in Electoral Fraud

The United Kingdom, UK, has begun the collation of information on politicians that engaged in electoral fraud and anti-democratic exercises in the just concluded general elections.

The British High Commission in Abuja, noted this in a statement, stressing that those found wanting will be sanctioned and imposed a ban on their visas.

The UK had strongly condemned electoral fraud and anti-democratic exercises and warned that any politician who is involved in the act, during the polls will be sanctioned. Following an earlier lead set by the US, the UK denounced the “use of incendiary ethnoreligious terminology by some public and political figures.”

The perpetrators of violence and voter suppression in Nigeria’s governorship and state assembly elections, according to the UK, should be held accountable.

While noting that violence and voter suppression were seen in numerous states, including Lagos, Enugu, and Rivers, the UK concluded that there were benefits to be drawn from the elections

The British High Commission said, “These are positive markers to build on for future elections. However, there were notable points of concern. 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.

“In addition, we observed incidents of harassment of journalists. Freedom of speech and a free press are crucial for a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.

“The UK is concerned by the use of inflammatory ethnoreligious language by some public and political figures.  We call on all leaders not just to distance themselves from this kind of language, but to prevent those who speak on their behalf from doing so in this way.

“It is a testament to their commitment to democracy that many Nigerians were prepared to vote despite being faced with intimidation and hostility.

“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.”

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