2023 Elections: US Owes It To Nigerians To Name Those Placed Under Visa Ban – Hamzat

In the activist’s view, politicians should not be the only ones under visa restrictions. 

This photo illustration shows a visa stamp on a foreign passport in Los Angeles on June 6, 2020. Chris DELMAS / AFP


Amid commendation for the US visa ban imposed on individuals in Nigeria who undermined the 2023 elections, the Chief Executive Officer of Connected Development (CODE), Hamzat Lawal, is asking the American government to name the subjects of the sanction.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a tweet Monday announced the visa restrictions, noting that his country remained committed to supporting Nigerian aspirations to strengthen democracy and rule of law.

Responding in a live appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Lawal advocated the naming and shaming of those refused entry into the North American nation.

According to him, exposing the identities of the subjects connotes a greater deal of transparency and sends a signal that actions have consequences. 

“If they had named these names, then the Nigerian people can actually also know that even if our government and some institutions are not acting, the international community are watching and have acted, particularly the American government,” he said.

“I think it would have gone a long way. Yes, I can understand that the judicial process is ongoing and maybe they are not publishing these names so they don’t interfere with that process, but I think that they owe it to the Nigerian people who are their friends and partners.”

Lawal pointed out that there were expectations that the Nigerian police, as the apex law enforcement agency, would have prosecuted those who interfered in the electoral process or put them behind bars.

In the activist’s view, politicians should not be the only ones under visa restrictions. 

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“We saw private citizens, we saw former lawmakers, we saw, even, law enforcement agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to ensure peace and stability in the country who colluded with corrupt politicians and mischief-makers,” he said.

Describing the ban as “a right step that will lead to other steps by the American government,” the anti-corruption campaigner hopes that in due time, the US would publish the names.

“We should know, so that as civil society, what we’ll now do is inaugurate them in the hall of shame,” Lawal added.