Former Senate president Bukola Saraki has called on the European Union and the United Kingdom to copy the United States and place visa ban on election riggers in Nigeria.
Saraki made the call on Tuesday while speaking at an event organised by the Centre for Advancement of Civil Liberties to mark this year’s International Day of Democracy.
Recall that the United States on Monday placed visa ristriction on individuals who participated in the rigging Kogi and Bayelsa states election, about a year after it took similar measures against those who compromised the 2019 elections.
Saraki applauded the United States for their gesture, saying that such ristriction is necessary steps to caution the enemies of democracy, and that they should be extended to electoral and security officials.
“The US decision to place visa restrictions on certain Nigerian politicians for their ignoble roles in the 2019 elections is commendable,” he said.
“I call on the UK and the European Union to follow suit. This is necessary to send the right and strong signal that those who undermine democracy in Nigeria are enemies of the rest of the democratic world.
“The sanctions should go beyond politicians and include electoral officers, security officials and judicial officers who undermine our democracy by their actions during and after elections,” Saraki said.
According to him, rigging of election is not only done at the polls, but extends to other areas such as the registration of voters, emergence of candidates, operations of political parties, preparations by the electoral commission, independence of the electoral commission and neutrality of the security agencies.
However, Saraki called for a speedy passage of the electoral act to improve the credibility of elections as well as an end to the “illegal interference in the electoral process by security agencies”.
“May be there should be a law that prevents the deployment of the military for election assignments. We should ensure strict compliance with the law on this and even go further to enshrine this in our constitution,” he said.
“It is also important we come in strong in the enforcement of the provisions of the law which provides for punishment of politicians, law enforcement agents, ordinary citizens and electoral officers who are caught subverting the electoral process.”