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No going back on visa restriction on electoral offenders – U.S

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…as PDP commends UK’s visa ban on election riggers, assets seizure

There is no going back on the visa restriction imposed by the United States Government on those that may undermine the electoral process in Nigeria, the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has reiterated.
This is even as it pledged to re-evaluate its ban on some categories of migrant visas on Nigeria.
The US envoy said the United States takes it very seriously, as the integrity of electoral processes is the fundamental trust of compact between a citizen and their government.
Ambassador Leonard, who stated this at the inaugural meeting of the U.S/Nigeria Forum yesterday in Abuja, also said ‘anyone who is found guilty would be subjected to the sanctions.’
It would be recalled that in January, U.S President, Donald Trump expanded its curbs on immigration visas to Nigeria and six other countries for failing to meet U.S security and information sharing standards.
The diplomat commended Nigeria on the progress made in information sharing and other concerns raised by the U.S government which led to the ban.
Leonard explained that the presidential proclamation enjoins the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to prepare a report addressing the measures that have been taken which is then submitted to the White House for re-evaluation.
She said contrary to reports, the presidential proclamation does not mean that no Nigerian could ever enter the US.
She said fortunately the bi-national commission meeting was held at about the same time of the proclamation which allowed Nigeria’s foreign minister and the U.S Secretary of State to make public statements on what it entailed.
“I have to congratulate Nigeria on its progress on greater information sharing with the United States, which is the croak of a lot of issues dealt with in these presidential proclamations.
“We have reviewed the federal government’s report on information sharing and we are inspired by the strides that Nigeria has made to improve access to stolen and lost travel documents.
“And particularly, we are encouraged by the September 7 announcement that the U.S provided interpol router has been successfully connected to Nigeria’s Immigration Service and National Centre Bureau in Abuja.
“Washington is extremely pleased about that development in particular,” Leonard said.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman said Nigeria had accomplished almost 90 percent of the requirements by the US government which led to the ban on some categories of migrant visas which was imposed on the country in January.
He noted that the forum would serve as a platform were both countries can progressively improve on bilateral relations and address concerns for the benefit of citizens.
“We have accomplished so much within a very difficult year, but essentially we want to acknowledge and put on record Nigeria’s response to the concerns by the United States Government in respect of the immigrant visa restriction that was imposed on Nigerians.
“I want to say that we appreciate the acknowledgement and the commendations from the United States government in respect of this response.
“From the assessment of the recipient of our response, I think we have accomplished almost 90 percent of the requirements that has been established in that regard.
“I am sure that if you follow the information that has been passed on the level of compliance, for instance sharing of information, we have done so much in that regard,” Suleiman said.
Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has commended the decision of the United Kingdom to impose visa ban, as well as the seizure of assets and property belonging to those who undermine the electoral process.
A statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, lauded the United Kingdom for its quick response alongside the United States of America in the global bid to stop the unbridled electoral fraud being perpetrated by leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and their compromised INEC and security officials.
The party on the Edo governorship election warned that those at the forefront of undermining the democratic process, including the APC candidate, OsagieIze-Iyamu, who was seen publicly directing thugs, cultists and killers as ‘tigers and lions’ to invade polling units and unleash violence on election day, should be immediately profiled for sanctions.

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