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2019 Election: US Impose Visa Restrictions On Nigerians Responsible For Undermining Democratic Process

•El-Rufai, Amaechi, Burata, MC Oluomo may be affected

•Says Nigerians not targeted

Senator Iroegbu

The United States Department of State has imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians responsible for undermining the democratic processes in the country, especially before, during and after the 2019 general elections.

Some of those suspected to have been affected by the new travel ban include the Governor of Kaduna State, who threatened to send foreigners or foreign observers “back in body bags”, and the former Minister of Transport, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi who was widely reported to have been denied Visa recently by the US Embassy in Nigeria as well as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai over the role of the Army during the elections, especially in Rivers State.

Sources also told Global Sentinel that the new rule affected many individuals who served in the government and some elected officials too.

“The visa restrictions may affect people like Amaechi, Akpabio, Buratai, El Rufai, Ganduje, Oluomo, likely but it says not directed at Nigerian people or new government,” the source clarified.

This was contained in a statement on Tuesday, signed by the Department of State Spokesperson, Ms. Morgan Ortagus, condemning those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process.

Ortagus who also announced this in her Twitter account, reminded that in January 24, 2019, the US government had warned that it would “consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organizing election-related violence”.

To that end, she said, the Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.

According to her, “these individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights”.

The Department of State Spokesperson, however stressed that the actions announced on Tuesday were “specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government.

“This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”

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Imposing Visa Restrictions on Nigerians Responsible for Undermining the Democratic Process

PRESS STATEMENT

MORGAN ORTAGUS, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON

The United States is a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy. We commend all those Nigerians who participated peacefully in the February and March 2019 elections and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes. As Nigeria marks the twentieth anniversary of a return to democratic rule this year, we remain committed to working together to continue to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations. We condemn those whose acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption harmed Nigerians or undermined the democratic process.

In a January 24 statement, the U.S. government said that we would consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organizing election-related violence. To that end, the Secretary of State is imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria. These individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights.

The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.

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Again, Obasanjo Attacks Buhari, Says Using EFCC, Others To Intimidate Opponents

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Former President, Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo

  • Accuses FG of using EFCC, agencies to witch-hunt opposition

Nkechi Chima, Abuja

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of using the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies to witch-hunt and intimidate other opponents.

Obasanjo alleged that some judges are already being intimidated; to prepare them to do the biding of the ruling party, in petitions that would arise from next year’s election.

He disclosed this in Abuja, at a colloquium titled Nigeria’s democracy: The journey so far and the role of women, which marked the 70th birthday anniversary of Mrs. Josephine Anenih, former minister for Women Affairs and Social Development.

The former president described the situation as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.

He said: “Some institutions created for normal administration and dispensation of Justice, like the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Ministry of Justice are being directed to witch-hunt and pursue political opponents can only undermine survival of democracy.

“The use of intimidation, violence and physical attacks have started in some States.

“It is understood that judges are already being intimidated so as to prepare them to do the ruling party’s bidding in election petitions.

“All there are visible in today’s practise of democracy in Nigeria.”

Obasanjo noted that for democracy to endure and produce the desired gains, nobody should be unjustifiably treated and the rule of law must be observed by those in power.

He charged Nigerians to tolerate one another and stressed that though Nigeria has recorded some strides in her democratic journey it is not yet uhuru.

The former president also said democracy should not mean shutting those who did not vote for you and explained that it is a government of the people by the people.

“For me, that after almost twenty year’s of the beginning of the present dispensation, it has not been derailed, is enough a development in progress, even though there are many unpalatable practises and dangerous signs that have shown their ugly heads, which is the strongest indication that our democracy is alive but, it cannot be said to be hale and hearty.

“Practitioners of democracy must be democrats, if you have a lot to be desired.”

On women’s involvement in governance, Obasanjo advocated 40 percent representation for women at all levels of government.

He decried the current situation where Nigeria is yet to meet the 35 affirmative action.

“In this present administration, there are 15 women members in the House of Representatives.

“It is not only unacceptable but makes mockery of gender balance. There must be amendment of our constitution, not to allow any gender to have less than 40 percent in any parliament.”

Obasanjo congratulated the celebrant, Mrs. Anenih, on her birthday and also applauded her for the great success she has recorded so far in life.

He also sang a song for the her titled: “What shall I render” and danced to it as well. (The Sun)

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Biafra: MASSOB Accuses Army Of Harassment, Seizure Of Properties |RN

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From: Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra [(MASSOB) otherwise known as Biafra Independent Movement (BIM), on Thursday, alleged that the men of the Nigerian Army harassed and conscripted their properties along the Afikpo-Owerri Road.

Briefing newsmen after their meeting in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the leader of MASSOB/BIM in Ebonyi South zone, Mr. Sunday Ezaka, accused the military of seizing their properties while they were returning from Owerri, Imo State.

He lamented that despite the non-violence posture being maintained by the freedom seekers, the Nigerian security agencies have been harassing, arresting and locking them up in the prisons.

“Last time when we were coming back from Owerri at Masters Energy Checkpoint in Abia mounted by the Military, three of our vehicles were stopped and we were ordered to come out from our vehicles.

“They saw that we are MASSOB BIM in our uniforms both the war veterans; they asked why we should wear the uniforms with all our logos and handout books written Biafra; they said that we should give it to them and until now they have not called us for a recovery of our property.

“They seized 50 of our security uniforms, handout books titled Echo Biafra 10, shoes 15, T-shirts on MASSOB security 50, boots 50; they said they were going to investigate but up till now they have not called us for claims. On 13th of last month, the Area Command of Afikpo Police Division came and pulled down our sign post from our secretariat at Amasiri, Okigwe road” he narrated.

Reacting on the call by President Muhammadu Buhari’s on the Igbo to forget about Biafra and embrace one Nigeria, Ezaka said that the actualisation of state of Biafra is a must.

“The clamour for Biafra is actualisable and you will soon see it. MASSOB Bim started the BIAFRA struggle. I saw in the national dailies that Buhari visited Ebonyi state and said that Igbo don’t need Biafra; I want to clearly let him know that he is making a mistake by uttering such comments” said he.   (The Sun)

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