The Federal Government has described as “disrespectful” comments from the United States of America and the United Kingdom that it will place a travel restriction ban on individuals who circumvent the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections respectively.
The displeasure was expressed in a statement signed by Ferdinand Nwonye, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Friday.
Both the US and UK had vowed to impose sanctions on anyone who perpetrated violence during the Edo and Ondo elections, including imposing visa restrictions and blocking them from accessing their assets and prosecuting them under international law.
While saying it has noted the concerns of its western allies regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo, the Federal Government, however, said it is unfair for both the US and the UK to be outside Nigeria and be making judgments on internal situations of the country.
According to the statement, the government said President Muhammadu Buhari has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections.
It also said the president has supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee.
It added that ample provisions in the nation’s laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
The statement read: “It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.”
The FG further highlighted that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and state independent electoral commissions.
“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistics, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the European Union, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with our relevant agencies by providing them with whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course,” the statement read.