First, it was the extradition of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ogun central senator-elect Buruji Kashamu to the United States but gradually the flood light of the US seems to beam on wife of the President, Patience Jonathan and a few others who attempted to disrupt the just concluded elections or instigated any violence.
Along with Patience Jonathan former Niger Delta minister, Godsday Orubebe and governor of Katsina state, Ibrahim Shema are going to be sanctioned by the US.
The US said Monday that it will impose visa restrictions on any Nigerian found to have incited violence or interfered with the electoral process.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said in a statement that the US will shut its doors on people involved in any form of violence during the polls.
“Anyone found to have incited violence or interfered with electoral processes will be unwelcome in the United States and subject to visa sanctions,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said.
Although Thomas-Greenfield did not give names of those considered for sanctions, Patience Jonathan, Orubebe, Shema and others who became an item on social media across the globe for inciting violence and trying to scuttle the elections seems to have put themselves in pole position for this sanction.
Thomas-Greenfield said, while the elections were generally without a significant scale of violence, and irregularities in some parts of Nigeria, some people were resolved to undermine the will of Nigerians and interfere with electoral processes, resorting to violence and voter intimidation.
She said the US regretted any loss of life and property during the process, adding that violence and rigging was unacceptable in a democratic electoral process.
She commended the Independent National Electoral Commission and its chair, Attahiru Jega. She also encouraged Nigeria and other nations to continue to explore the use of relevant technologies in future elections.
“Despite some technical glitches, it is clear that technology and use of social media-INEC’s online posting of results for each polling unit, live tweeting of results, the use of biometric permanent voter cards and electronic card readers- improved efficiency and limited fraud.”
“Now more than ever, it is up to all Nigerians to stay united so that Nigeria can move forward with a clear set of priorities for the future. This next phase is critical as the world continues its hopeful watch for what happens in Nigeria,” she noted
She added that Nigeria’s “democracy will be a beacon across the continent and beyond.”
Thomas-Greenfield said the US looked forward to the inauguration of the president elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29 and the beginning of a new chapter of the relationship between the two countries.
It would be recalled that Orubebe accused the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, of bias, and asked him to resign on national TV before the announcement of results from states could continue.
Although he apologised for his shameful act, his action has however spoken louder than words.
On her part, Patience Jonathan incited violence during a PDP Women Campaign in Calabar, Cross River state, when she said that anyone chanting ‘Change’ (The All Progressives Congress’s campaign ‘word’) be stoned.
In the video which is an item on YouTube, she said: “I’m telling you, anyone that comes and tell you change, stone that person. What you did not do 19 kilikili, is now that age has caught up with you, you want to come and change? You can’t change rather you will turn back to a baby. You will turn back to a baby. From old age nothing, so nothing like change. Rather (it) is continuity.”
The APC has since reported her to the International Criminal Court in Netherlands.
The sanctions may also target Shema of Katsina state, who was caught on tape prodding his supporters to attack and kill opposition members and their supporters. He described members of the opposition as “cockroaches”.
Others who fit the bill include deputy governor of Rivers state, Tele Ikuru, who during a campaign rally in the state, called on the people to fight and redeem the state from APC even if it means shedding their blood.
Ousted Kaduna state governor, Mukhtar Yero, was caught on tape threatening violence against the APC.
culled from PM news