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UK To List Electoral Offenders And Plans Sanction

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The UK government said it has begun the collation of names of electoral offenders in the just-concluded general elections in Nigeria.

Gatekeepers News reports that the UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, said plans to take action against those who engaged in or incited electoral violence during the just-concluded general elections are underway.

The British High Commission, while disclosing this said sanctions would be imposed on perpetrators “including preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime.”

The Commission in a statement on Wednesday, said, “We can confirm that we are collating relevant information, with a view to taking action against some individuals.”

The high commission, which said it deployed observers in six states, noted, “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 is crucial for a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.

“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 Commission, however, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for improving on its performance during the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections on March 18.

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