Two former Governors of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva and Seriaki Dickson alongside Governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State are the latest to be banned from entering the United States, State Department sources have confirmed.
The Sources who refused to release the detailed list said the State Department is being careful not to release the complete list to the public in other not to create the impression that the U.S Government is targeting the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress, APC.
“We cannot release the list now, so we don’t appear to be targeting the ruling party,” a State Department official who is privy to the list told Pointblanknews.com.
The latest names of Politicians and others on the visa ban is in addition to the past list that contains the names of Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Elrufai and former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole and many other members of the APC and INEC officials.
Also, on the new list are two Resident Electoral Commissioners, Monday Udoh, and Prof. Jacob Spam both of Bayelsa and Kogi States.
A senior U.S official who confirmed the names told Pointblanknews.com that the U.S is determined to help Nigeria grow and sustain its democratic practice and as such anyone linked to election violence, election manipulation, and bribery, would not be spared from the ban.
The source said the U.S Government is closely monitoring the Edo and Ondo elections, vowing that more names would be included if the elections are by any means marred by irregularities.
A statement by the spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, on Monday said those issued visa bans received the sanction for undermining democracy in Nigeria.
It reads, “In July 2019, we announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who undermined the February and March 2019 elections. Today, the Secretary of State is imposing additional visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa states elections and in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo states elections.
“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.
“The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian Government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.”