UK warns Nigeria politicians against violence, lists penalties

The United Kingdom (UK) has warned Nigerian politicians against violence as the country goes to poll, insisting that politicians who incite or execute violence during elections would have their visas banned and assets in the UK seized.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms Catriona Laing, who gave the warning, said that aside the possibility of having assets of politicians who instigated violence seized in the UK, that culprits could experience worst case scenario of prosecution.

Speaking during a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday to unveil the Election Situation Room of the Civil Society set up by a coalition of civil society organisations to monitor the polls in Abuja, Laing reiterated the position of Britain on the elections.

She said, “We will apply this absolutely across board not directed to any particular party; we are monitoring and looking out for hate speech.

“Our two worries are on security, not just on the role the police will play to ensure peace but about the role individuals play by getting angry or militias being paid to disrupt elections.

“Then, another worry is fake news, that is why we rely on CSOs and we will work with them to get information.”

Also speaking at the event, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington said, “The time has come for this outside world that cares so much about Nigeria to listen to the people of Nigeria and to see what each of them do and then forward the results to lift Nigeria up.”

In his speech, the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, appreciated the CSOs for the inauguration of the situation room.

He said it was a good work towards the elections and showed that the groups were prepared for the elections and ready to monitor the voting process, thus helping the UN with ideas on the process in the country.

The United States (US) had before now also given similar warnings to Nigerian politicians that will cause or incite violence during the during the February 16, presidential and National Assembly elections as well as the March 2, governorship and states houses of assembly polls.