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UK government threatens visa ban on politicians inciting violence on social media

Valentine Chinyem

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The British High Commission says those who incite electoral violence on social media could be denied access into the United Kingdom (UK).

In its call for credible, peaceful elections on 9 March, the high commission asked “Nigerians to turn out and vote on Saturday 9 March in elections for State Governorships and State Houses of Assembly”.

“These elections are an important opportunity for citizens to exercise their democratic rights and choose their leaders. We hope that the causes of logistical issues on the 23 February election have been identified and addressed.

“We commend INEC staff and the National Youth Service Corps, who play a critical role in the delivery of elections, often in difficult circumstances. We hope that they will be given every support and protection necessary to ensure the smooth and peaceful delivery of elections free from fear of intimidation or interference in the electoral process.”

The UK also condemned electoral violence, stating its readiness to ban those who incite violence on and off social media.

“We were concerned by reports of high levels of violence in some states across Nigeria during the recent Presidential elections, including reports of violent clashes involving the military in Rivers State.

“We condemn all acts of violence and call for those responsible to be brought to justice. We call on all actors, including political parties and security personnel, to work together to provide a peaceful environment for Nigerians to vote on 9 March.

“We remind all actors that anyone involved in violence or inciting violence, including on social media, could face restrictions on their ability to travel to the UK.

“The UK will again field observer teams across Nigeria on 9 March as part of our efforts to support Nigerian democracy.”

Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria, had said politicians who incite or execute violence during the 2019 elections in Nigeria would have their visas banned and foreign assets forfeited.

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