The United States embassy in Nigeria has stated that it will examine “all available options” against individuals who interfered with the country’s just finished elections.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the United States expressed “grave concern” over incidents of voter intimidation and the use of racially charged rhetoric during the March 18 gubernatorial and legislative elections.
It also urged the federal government and other relevant institutions to prosecute individuals who assisted in voter suppression.
The statement continues, “The United States is extremely worried by the troubling acts of violent voter intimidation and suppression that occurred during these elections in Lagos, Kano, and other states.”
“Members of the U.S. diplomatic mission observed the elections in Lagos and elsewhere and witnessed firsthand a number of these instances. The use of racially charged rhetoric before, during, and after the Lagos gubernatorial election was especially troubling.
“We urge on the Nigerian government to hold accountable and bring to justice anyone found to have directed or participated in measures to intimidate voters and suppress voting during the election process.
“Similarly, the United States will explore all available steps, including new visa restrictions, against those believed to be responsible for or complicit in subverting the democratic process in Nigeria,” the statement reads.
The mission reported that the March 18 elections shown “substantial operational improvements” over the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections.
“After the 25 February national elections, the United States joined other international observers in urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address voting processes and technological features that were flawed in that election,” the statement continued.
Significant operational improvements appear to have been made for the March 18 elections, as polling locations generally opened on time and the majority of results were accessible on an electronic viewing platform in a timely manner.