US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday imposed visa restrictions on an unannounced number of individuals who are allegedly involved in undermining the democratic process in Nigeria. This move comes just before the February 2023 Nigerian elections—one of which will replace President Muhammadu Buhari.
The visa restrictions are authorized by Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The section prohibits the entry of an alien whose presence can have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the US.
Blinken said that the US is “committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria.” He also clarified that the visa restrictions are not against the Nigerian people or their government, but a decision reflecting the United States’ commitment to “support Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.”
Similar remarks were made by Rolf Olson, political counselor at the US embassy in Nigeria on November 17, 2022:
Individuals seeking to undermine the democratic process, including through violence, may be found ineligible for visas to the United States. We have imposed visa restrictions in the past against those responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process, and remain fully willing to do so again in the context of the upcoming elections.