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US imposes visa bans on Nigerians who disrupted elections

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The United States has imposed entry restrictions on more Nigerians for undermining the democratic process during the African nation’s 2023 election cycle, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“These individuals have been involved in intimidation of voters through threats and physical violence, the manipulation of vote results, and other activity that undermines Nigeria’s democratic process,” Blinken said in a statement.

Additional details were not provided.

The action is the latest in a series of visa restrictions imposed on Nigerian individuals in recent years.

Nigeria’s election tribunal this month was to begin hearing opposition petitions challenging president-elect Bola Tinubu’s victory in the disputed February presidential vote, court records showed.

Tinubu, from the ruling All Progressives Congress party, defeated his closest rivals Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who have alleged fraud and have launched a court challenge.

Atiku and Obi want the tribunal to invalidate Tinubu’s victory, arguing that the vote was fraught with irregularities, among other criticisms. Tinubu, who is set to be sworn in on May 29, says he won fairly and wants the petitions dismissed.

There have been numerous legal challenges to the outcome of previous Nigerian presidential elections, but none has succeeded.

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