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2023: SERAP wants US to slam visa ban on election offenders



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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the US President Joe Biden to exercise his powers to ban Nigerian officials, politicians and other perpetrators and sponsors of violence during the presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria.

SERAP also urged Mr Biden to “use the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to block or revoke the visas of anyone suspected to be responsible for cases of intimidation, harassment and violence during the elections, and to impose asset freezes and property sanctions on them and their families.”

This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

On Saturday, Nigerians went to the polls to choose a new president and National Assembly members for a four-year term. In certain states, there were reports of violence, including the shooting to death of a suspected vote box thief by soldiers.

Some states with reported cases of election-related intimidation, harassment, and violence included Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos, Edo, Ogun, Osun, Rivers, and Taraba states, and the Federal Capital Territory.

Read also:US President, Biden, calls for peaceful, transparent elections in Nigeria

A day after, the rights group issued a statement, urging the US President to exercise his powers “pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations 7750 and 8697 and the Immigration and Nationality Act to ban Nigerian officials, politicians and other perpetrators and sponsors of violence during the just concluded elections”.

Oluwadare told President Biden that “the imposition of targeted sanctions against suspected perpetrators and sponsors of election-related violence in Nigeria would promote accountability, end impunity, and deter human rights violations,” the statement read.

“Applying the presidential proclamations, Global Magnitsky Act, and Immigration and Nationality Act as recommended would be very helpful to the efforts to stop further violence before, during, and after elections, facilitate free and fair elections, and encourage the people to exercise their right to vote.

“Armed thugs snatched ballot boxes, took away election materials, broke chairs, and dispersed voters in several areas in Kogi State, including in Anyigba Dekina towns. Thugs also reportedly attacked polling units in polling units in Niger, Delta, and Katsina states, stealing at least eight BVAS machines.”

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