Some Nigerian politicians are said to be gripped by anxiety over their alleged roles in the irregularities and violence that marred the 2019 general election in Nigeria especially the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly election in Rivers State and other places held on March 9, 2019.
A source disclosed to BusinessDay on Wednesday that the US has been gathering information on these individuals whose actions have led to the death of dozens of people before, during and after the elections, adding that the US would slam appropriate sanctions on them as it had earlier threatened.
“The US intelligence network has beamed its searchlight on certain individuals, who have shown desperation during the election and their actions have led to loss of lives. As I am talking to you now, they are jittery because of the US threats but they will not escape from it,” the source said.
Nigeria held Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23 and the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections on March 9. However, the US on Tuesday, March 12, said that it is compiling reports on the elections that were marred by irregularities and violence, especially during the March 9 Governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections across the country.
Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, said this during a telephone conference in Abuja on Tuesday, stressing that the US Government will give appropriate response to the issues surrounding the elections.
He said that the US Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate in Lagos led by Ambassador, Stuart Symington, have been active in providing “phenomenal guidance” to Washington on how the government should and should not respond to the election-related matter.
“So just rest assured that the US Embassy in Abuja and Consulate in Lagos are actively involved and are doing absolutely superb job to monitor events there and provide guides on how Washington should react on whatever events there,” he said.
This response was coming on the heels of reported cases of violence allegedly perpetrated by some security agents to rig elections in parts of the country especially in Rivers State and other parts of the country, where elections have been declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The US and the British Government had before the polls issued a joint statement, threatening to impose visa restrictions and other forms of punishment on those who perpetrate election related-violence.
“We and other democratic nations will be paying closer attention to action of individuals who interfere with the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during or after the election.
“We will not hesitate to consider consequences including visa restrictions for those found to be responsible for election -related violence,” the US had warned.
The United Kingdom had also condemned the alleged action of the military in disrupting elections in Rivers State and called on the army authorities to fish out the culprits. However, the army in a statement by its spokesman, Sagir Musa, denied military involvement in the alleged violence, stressing that the hoodlums were thugs in military uniforms.
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Monday issued statements to condemn the alleged military involvement in election violence.
The EU Mission Chief Observer Maria Arena specifically pointed out that they were denied access to some collation centres by the military in Rivers State.
Innocent Odoh, Abuja