UK Collates Names Of Electoral Offenders, Promises Sanction
The British High Commission in Nigeria has said it was collating relevant information on those who engaged in or incited electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours in the Nigerian elections and is ready to take action against them.
A signed statement by the Senior Communications & Public Diplomacy Officer, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the British High Commission, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, revealed that violence and voter suppression in numerous polling units were observed as well as vote buying.
“There were notable points of concern. Members of our observation mission personally observed violence, and voter suppression in numerous voting locations. “We witnessed and received credible reports from other observer missions and civil society organisations of vote buying and voter intimidation, the destruction and hijacking of election materials, and the general disruption of the process in numerous states- including Lagos, Enugu, and Rivers. “In addition, we observed incidents of harassment of journalists. Freedom of speech and a free press are crucial for a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.
The statement added that: “The UK is concerned by the use of inflammatory ethnoreligious language by some public and political figures. We call on all leaders not just to distance themselves from this kind of language, but to prevent those who speak on their behalf from doing so in this way.
“It is a testament to their commitment to democracy that many Nigerians were prepared to vote despite being faced with intimidation and hostility.
“The UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, said on 21 February that the UK is prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours, and action could include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime.
“We can confirm that we are collating relevant information with a view to taking action against some individuals.”