- The British government would put Nigeria under close watch ahead of the 2023 general elections
- Catriona Laing, the British ambassador to Nigeria, said Nigeria's election remains significant to Africa and the world because of its elite status
- She noted that serious sanctions would be placed on any political party or candidate guilty of electoral violence and malpractices
FCT, Abuja - Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the British High Commission in Nigeria has revealed its stand in the mix of the crucial polls.
Catriona Laing, the British ambassador to Nigeria, said the United Kingdom, just like every other country in the international community, will be on high alert monitoring the process and progress of the forthcoming elections.
Laing made this submission on Wednesday, November 23, in a meeting with the national working committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party secretariat in Abuja.
While addressing the NWC, she stated that the United Kingdom remains non-partisan in the political scene of Nigeria and will not be supporting any candidate or political party during the polls.
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As reported by the Vanguard newspaper, Laing stated perpetrators of electoral violence would be slammed with a visa denial as punishment for violating electoral laws.
“We will also be watching closely any individual who acts violently or incites people through social media. We do have the possibility of using our visas as sanction by removing people’s rights to visit the UK.”
2023 polls: UK says electoral violence will not be tolerated
Laing also stated that there is a need to ensure that the election is violent-free as electoral violence has become an unwanted trend in the Nigerian political scene.
She said when people don’t feel safe, they will be scared to turn out to vote on the day of the election, which in turn dents the credibility of the election.
TheCable quoted Liang, saying:
“That is a real concern, and we want to exchange our thoughts on what you can do as a political party to ensure that the elections are as peaceful as possible.
“When people feel intimidated, they can’t get out to vote; the election itself will not be credible. That is why the violence is of great concern.”
She reiterated that the high number of electorates at polls further fosters the credibility of the elections while noting that the last outing in 2019 had a poor turnout.
Laing, however, noted that the United Kingdom would be closely monitoring the political parties, candidates and security operatives deployed to the polling units.
“We will be watching closely. This applies to all the political parties, not just the parties, but security officials and anybody who might be in that position.
“The important thing is to get the votes out, whatever political party you are. The election will be credible if the votes are high. It was low last time — around 35 percent,” She added.
UK envoy states reasons Nigerians are trooping to the country
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom envoy to Nigeria has listed reasons Nigerians prefer to go to the country.
Catriona Laing said there are many Nigerians in the UK studying and also in the medical fields.
She identified the English Language, education and other factors as reasons Nigerian flocking to the UK.