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FG not worried about US’ threat of visa ban on Nigerians, says Lai

The federal government says the United States’ plan to impose a visa ban on politicians that undermine Nigeria’s democracy before, during and after the February 25 and March 11 elections is a welcome idea.

“Let those who undermine our democracy be sanctioned, and let them carry their own cross. As a government, we have no reason to worry because our hands are clean,” information minister Lai Mohammed stated on Monday in Abuja at the 20th edition of President Muhammadu Buhari’ (PMB) Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023).

Mr Mohammed was responding to the decision by the United States of America to slam a visa ban on some Nigerians believed to be responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Nigeria.

The decision was announced in a statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election,” Mr Blinken said.

The minister reiterated the current administration’s position to ensure free, fair and credible elections and a smooth handover to a successor elected by Nigerians on May 29.

“As a government, we are proud to say that no administration since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999 has shown more fidelity to the democratic process than ours,” he added. “No president, since 1999, has been as unambiguous as President Muhammadu Buhari, in word and indeed, with regards to leaving office after the constitutionally-stipulated two terms.”

According to the minister, Mr Buhari gave “unprecedented” support to INEC, including signing into law the Electoral Bill 2022.

He also reiterated the position of the regime to conduct the general elections as planned and scheduled.

Mr Mohammed said the scorecard series, during which ministers gave the giant strides of their ministries since 2015, was another indication of the administration’s determination to leave office on May 29, 2023.

“We have not been mired in any third-term controversy like was witnessed under the Peoples Democratic Party,” said the regime’s minister. “In fact, we are creating the template for a smooth transition of power that will guide future administrations.”


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