UK collates names of electoral offenders for possible sanction


  • Lists Lagos, Rivers, Enugu with highest incidents
Uba Group

Like the US, the United Kingdom has frowned at reports of activities of individuals that undermined the recent general elections in the country.

According to the British High Commission, the UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, is prepared to take action against those who have committed one form of infraction or the other during the just-concluded general elections.

The British High Commission said the UK was already collating names of such perpetrators and vowed to impose sanctions on them which will include “preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime.”

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

It confirmed deploying observers in six states, saying, “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 ethno-religious 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 British High Commission, nonetheless, applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission for improving on its performance during the second stage of the general election on March 18.