The Federal Government has sought the support of international partners especially the U.K. and the US to ensure smooth conduct of elections in the country.
The Government also expressed its concern over the decision of the United States and United Kingdom Governments to enforce a visa ban against some Nigerians accused of allegedly interfering with the electoral process.
The Government described the move as disrespectful to the sovereignty of Nigeria; noting that it is wrong for an external country to apply punitive measures such as visas restriction on its citizens.
Mr Ferdinand Nwonye; Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday in Abuja, made Government’s position known on the issue in a statement.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners; especially the U.S. and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.
‘‘They have also expressed their intentions to take punitive measures against those who decide to; in what they termed as, undermine democracy
“It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions. The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before; during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led Peace Committee.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators/perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud. It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria; for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures; such as visa restriction, unilaterally.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU; we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and U.S. to cooperate with our relevant agencies,” the government said.
Further, the FG called on the partners to support security agencies in Nigeria; by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course. The Nigerian government also expressed solidarity with the government and people of the U.S. as regards their forthcoming election; which it hoped would be free from interference and violence.