All top players of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari’s party who subverted the controversial 2019 elections by acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption have been barred from entering the United States of America.
The US on Tuesday announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerian politicians who were allegedly responsible for undermining the democratic process during the elections.
This implies that Washington DC has declared those implicated, some of them top functionaries of the Buhari administration, personae non gratae. This is the plural of the Latin term, Persona non grata. It literally means an unwelcome person. It is a legal term used in diplomacy that indicates a proscription against a foreign person entering or remaining in the country.
In a January 24 statement, the US State Department had said that they will consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence.
The US government has walked their talk. Spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, said ‘’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 have undermined democratic principles and human rights.’’
Per Second News, a news portal with an editor in the US reports that a former governor of a South-South state was recently labeled as inadmissible to the United States. He was, according to the online newspaper, denied entry at the Washington, Dulles airport.
The Department of State in a statement in Washington emphasizes that the actions announced on Tuesday are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people or the newly elected government.
This decision reflects the Department’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.
According to the State Department, ‘’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.’’