The Nigerian state assembly and governorship elections were held on March 18, and the UK government claims it is gathering pertinent evidence to take action against those people who participated in or incited electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours.
The British High Commission said in a statement that such people will face consequences, including a UK visa suspension.
Almost 24 hours after the United States Government promised to take “all available actions” against anybody who harmed the recently ended elections in Nigeria, the United Kingdom issued a statement.
Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, Senior Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer, signed the statement.
“The UK is prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours, according to Andrew Mitchell, MP, the minister of state for development and Africa in the UK. This action could include denying individuals a UK visa or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime.
The statement read, “We can confirm that we are gathering pertinent information with a view to taking action against some individuals.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) received praise from the British Commission for better logistics during the governorship elections, especially when compared to the presidential election three weeks prior.
“More polling places opened on time, BVAS and IREV were more clearly in use, and polling places and collation centres were uploading results in real time. These are encouraging signs that can be built upon for upcoming elections, according to the Commission.
On the other hand, the Commission claimed that participants in its monitoring mission saw incidents of violence and voter suppression on Saturday.
“We witnessed 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. We also received credible reports of these incidents from other observer missions and civil society organisations.
“We also saw instances of journalists being harassed. Freedom of speech and a free press are important for a healthy society, and journalists must be able to go about their business without being harmed.
The use of incendiary ethnic and religious terminology by some public and political figures worries the UK. We call on all leaders not simply to distance themselves from this kind of language, but to prevent people who speak on their behalf from doing so in this way,” the statement added.
The British Commission applauded Nigerians’ dedication to democracy despite intimidation and prejudice.
“We enjoin any party or person who wishes to contest the conduct or results of the elections to do so amicably and in accordance with the law. We’ll be watching how legal issues are handled.
“The 2023 elections are significant not only for Nigeria and its citizens, but also for Africa and the rest of the world. The UK is dedicated to fostering the relationships between our nations and peoples as a long-term partner, including by promoting democratic growth.