The United Kingdom (UK) has threatened to take action against those who will perpetrate election violence and other anti-democratic behaviour as Nigeria heads to the 2023 general elections.
Catriona Laing, while speaking on Channels Television, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, expressed worry over the number of pre-election violence already witnessed in the buildup to the polls noted that it could be worse if a free and fair poll is truncated.
She said, “There is a worry around insecurity and violence. In this pre-election period, the number of violence and incidents is higher than in the last election. We hope people can go out to vote peacefully on the day of the presidential and gubernatorial election.
“But most worrying is the post-election period where we have seen in the past in Nigeria, there’s been quite intense post-election violence.
“So, in order to avoid that, we’re urging the heads of the political parties to ensure that their supporters go out and vote but accept the result if they lose.
“And if they feel they want to challenge anything, it is better to do so through the judicial process to keep things calm, during what is going to be a very close election. There’s a lot at stake. So that’s I guess one of my fears and worries.”
Laing urged Nigerians to come out en-mass to vote for their choice candidate said: “We are prepared to take action on those who incite electoral violence, and any anti-democratic behaviours.
“One of our plans is the visa ban, we will refuse them a visa to travel to the UK. We also have other sanctions under human rights. We are watching closely and it is not targeted at any political party or individual but it can be applied to anyone. We have used these tools in the past with our US counterparts and we are prepared to use them again.
“Everyone has a stake in a peaceful and credible election, especially if it’s Nigeria. So we are just playing our part in supporting Nigeria’s democratic journey”.
She further said, “Insecurity in post-elections is my biggest fear and we have urged the head of political parties to talk to the supporters. If we can go through that we will have a peaceful country. UK and other international communities are fully behind Nigeria”.