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Thursday, November 30, 2023

SERAP to President Biden: deny visa to perpetrators of electoral violence

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged United States President Joe Biden to exercise his powers to ban Nigerian officials, politicians, and other perpetrators and sponsors of violence during the just concluded elections.

SERAP also urged Biden to revoke the visas of anyone suspected of being responsible for cases of intimidation, harassment, and violence during the elections, and to impose asset freezes and property sanctions on them and their families.

The letter followed reports of election-related intimidation, harassment, and violence in several states of the country, including in Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos, Edo, Ogun, Osun, Rivers, and Taraba states, and Abuja.

In the letter dated 25 February 2023 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “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.

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

“The recommended travel bans, asset freezes, and property sanctions should also cover anyone who may perpetrate and sponsor violence and human rights crimes during the postponed elections in 141 polling units, and the governorship elections scheduled for March 2023.

“SERAP welcomes your government’s publicly expressed commitment to impose visa restrictions on officials, politicians, and other perpetrators and sponsors of election-related intimidation, harassment, and violence. We urge you to include asset freezes and property sanctions on the list.

“Giving serious consideration to our recommendations and promptly implementing them would give meaning to this commitment, and demonstrate the willingness of your government to support and strengthen democracy, citizens’ participation, and the rule of law, as well as end a culture of election-related violence in Nigeria.”

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