Kogi State accuses the US of partisanship over travel ban

Kogi State has accused the United State government of partisanship after it slammed some unnamed individuals with a travel ban for electoral misconduct in the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections.

The state accused the United States of reigniting the “dying embers of discord” started by Nigeria’s last general elections and the state governorship held last November. It, however, not its prerogative to challenge the visa ban imposed on unnamed election riggers.

“Our concern right now is not the prerogative of the United States of America to impose entry restrictions on anyone, for any or no reason at all, which prerogative remains unfettered, but the room for atrocious misinformation which the timing of your Press Statement and the mention of the Kogi elections therein has created in our state,” the secretary to Kogi State Government said in a letter to United States ambassador to Nigeria.

Let it be noted that we are not challenging your visa bans in any way, whoever they may affect and for how long, but we do register the strongest protest possible as a State to the collateral and unwarranted interference in our political and social processes which it represents.

Morgan Ortagus, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, on Monday, announced the travel ban, stating that the decision also targets those accused of working to undermine the November 2019 governorship polls in Kogi and Bayelsa.

Ayoade said that the US government had acted based on some “presumption” and without no “fair hearing.”

She argued that although, the Kogi election was “not without its challenges”, she said that from “critical and composite analyses of the records (official, media, observers, etc) that regrettable incidents were limited to a few polling units, while the overwhelmingly larger portions of the ballot were free, fair and credible.”

The election result which was challenged in court by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Musa Wada, and the Social Democratic Party and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti. The Supreme Court, in August, however dismissed two appeals and affirmed him the governor of Kogi State.

Ayoade said US travel ban tagged as an “interference” is somehow “tainted and did not meet the justice of the case, thereby casting aspersions, not only on the Nigerian judiciary, but on the second term mandate freely bestowed on His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello by the good people of Kogi State.”

The spokesman added that if the US government “is still locked in a fight to defend the integrity of her own electoral processes to this very day, then she ought to accord greater empathy, more civility and much less disruption, to nascent democracies.”

“As it is now, partisan speculation as to who is indicted, who is not and for what, has become cudgels, furiously swung in the media space by all comers. Your action has therefore added abundant grist to the rumour mills and electrified the merchants of fake news.”

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