The United States government said on Monday it will impose visa restrictions on the wife of Nigeria’s president, Patience Jonathan, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, the governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, and several others for inciting violence and interfering with the country’s electoral process.
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said in a statement that America 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 in the statement.
Although the U.S official did not mention names of those considered for sanctions, Orubebe has been listed in several quarters as one of those that will be affected ostensibly because of his unruly behavior during the collation of the presidential election results at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s National Collation centre in Abuja last month.
The former minister verbally assaulted the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, alleging that the results of the election were skewed in favour of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Although Orubebe later apologized to Nigerians, his action was widely condemned within and
outside the country.
Mrs. Jonathan on her part incited violence against APC supporters during the Peoples Democratic Party’s campaign activities in some parts of the country.
Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said while the elections were generally peaceful, some people resolved to undermine the will of Nigerians and interfere with electoral processes through violence and voter intimidation.