*Threatens visa denial for sponsors of violence
The U.S. government has advised Nigerian politicians to work towards ensuring a peaceful and violence-free February general elections.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, gave the advice at a news conference on Sunday in Lagos at the end of a closed-door meeting he held with President Goodluck Jonathan and Maj.-Gen. Muhammad Buhari (rtd.), the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC), respectively.
“The U.S. government strongly believes in Nigeria having credible, free and fair elections next month,” Kerry said.
He said that the international community and the U.S. government were keenly interested in the conduct of next month’s election.
Kerry said that he was impressed with the outcome of his meeting with the two major presidential contenders in the forthcoming elections.
He, however, said that the U.S. government would not hesitate to deny American visa to any political office seeker involved in political violence in Nigeria.
“We want to say that any Nigerian who promotes any form of violence during the elections remains ineligible for U.S. visa,’’ Kerry said.
Kerry said that President Obama specifically sent him to meet with the two candidates with a view to having a violence-free election.
On security, the secretary of state also restated his government’s commitment to continue to support Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram sect.
“The U.S. will continue to work with the Nigerian military in putting an end to the continuous killings of innocent Nigerians and attack on communities.
“The U.S strongly condemns these attacks which have escalated in the last few weeks and it is gradually spreading to neighbouring countries.’’
Kerry also refuted allegation that the U.S. would in future discriminate against Nigerians and other West Africans suspected to have contacted the Ebola Virus Diseases