America litany of restriction on Nigeria
MRS, MARY BETH LEONARD.
THE AMERICANS AMBASSEDOR TO NIGERIA,
UNITED STATE EMBASSY ABUJA,
PLOT, 1075 DIPLOMATIC DRIVE,
CENTRAL DISTRICT AREA,
Your Excellency sir,
RE- OPEN LETTER TO AMERICA AMBASSEDOR’ON THEIR GOVERNMENT AND LITTANY OF RESTRICTIONS ON NIGERIANS.
Few days ago, your Embassy in Nigeria had characteristically announced an imposition of visa sanctions on some Nigerians, for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections. It also expanded the visa restrictions to those who may be linked to those of the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.
This your Embassy did, with a view to fostering peace, security, furthering democratic tenets and respect for human rights for both nations,-as this formed the core basis for the mutual partnership between them.No doubt, this is not the first time your government, through its Embassy in Nigeria is imposing visa restriction or travel ban on individual Nigerians; Our Country and its people had fallen under such sanction hammer in 2017, when travel ban was issued and barred nearly all immigrants and travelers from seven countries with majority Muslim populations. We had also had government-imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians that undermined the country's democracy during the February and March 2019 elections.
The journey to nationhood is ever evolving and requires determined and consistent efforts from all stakeholders to sustain and enhanced its processes. One of the credible routes to robust nationhood is through vibrant good governance premised on credible democratic tenets and practices. This, we think of no doubt should remains the key driver of your policy engagements in many countries around the world.
Sadly, such determined effort to ensure good governance through credible democratic engagements is daily undermined by the acts of violence, repression of the freedom of the press, intimidation, corruption and human rights abuses. Today, many political actors and other individuals continue to operate with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people, thus undermining democratic principles and human rights. This poses unending threats to the mutual interests of both countries.
As a robust tool for containment, it becomes imperative that your government need to continue to partner with its Nigerian counterpart to establish and enforce any sanction, within a larger strategic framework and set of supporting activities, that will help them achieve objectives of such punitive policy enactment, if it is ever warranted. No doubt, Africa has been far and away the target of more sanctions by U.S. than any other continent. Most of these sanctions and related restrictions are aimed at resolving conflicts, or enforcing democratization as a route to effective governance.
The America-Nigeria bilateral diplomatic relations and trading partnership, dated back to several decades, yet not without its up and downs, particularly regarding granting of aid and technical support as well as occasional sanctions and visa- restrictions.
The positive signatures of American government, through its embassy in Nigeria, has partnered with and assisted the Nigerian government to amongst other achievements; rebuild basic mechanisms of democratic governance to make elected officials accountable to constituents through free and fair elections, strong government institutions, and well-organized, informed citizens who demand performance. It helped boost economic growth through investment in agriculture and also supported the maintenance of peace and security.
These gains made by the strategic partnership, is daily reversed by the acts of electoral violence, corruption, extra-judicial killings, impunity, muzzling of the press and non inclusion of citizen in act of governance. This has thus continue to undermine the impacts recoded in the areas of human rights promotion, implementations of the rule of law, promotion of transparency and accountability in governance. It is thus clear that the core issues that undermine the peace, stability and security of Nigeria have not been fully addressed to the extent of unbundling the clogs that impede progress and governance in the country. That is why impunity, corruption and electoral violence remain attractive to some Nigerians.
These deterioration is seen in the increased number of deaths, before, during or after each elections; on the increasing numbers of extrajudicial killings and undocumented human rights abuses. These are also manifested in the increased cases of restriction of press freedom, on the mind boggling cases of corruption and electoral manipulations through financial inducements.
The Nigeria economy remain under threats as the stringent conditionality's of both the IMF and World Bank, remain stifling and prevented effective repatriations of stolen funds lodged in banks in America. This no doubt derives further strength from the influences of the American policies in Nigeria with their guinea pigs policy.
The sanctions on Nigerians, may be effective, but it is sad that while your country America easily imposed sanctions on Nigerians, or any other country, it has find it impossible to quickly repatriate all stolen funds from Nigerians, ware house and lodged in America Banks. This is a case of double standard and we totally condemned such a stance.
The fact is that the corruption and organized crimes in America, far outweighs that of Nigeria, yet America has not been effectively and appropriately sanctioned, as done to Nigerians.
While we are not totally opposed to sanction, where it is necessary, this must be applied appropriately and correspondingly to make it effective and deterrent enough. This will also enhance its legality and credibility.
The question is why it is easier for the American government to quickly impose sanction or restriction on Nigeria and Nigerians, yet, find it difficult to speedily place sanction on Nigerians who looted money and deposit it in American banks?
Why is it easy for the American government to easily warehoused looted funds or proceeds of corruptions from Nigeria, yet unwilling to support their extraditions? This act of double standard and is condemnable
The sanctions, coming at this very moment, when the culprit had been sworn-in after several weeks of elections and further entrenching corruptions in the system is belated and uninspiring. The sanction should have taken immediate effects a day after the elections, and fully enforced in partnership with the local court, taking into considerations, relevant laws and international statutes and protocols. The rate at which political stakeholders are compromising the electoral process is a threat to nation's peace and security. They must thus be restraint with appropriate due process, rule of law or sanctions.
While Nigeria as a country as well as Africa, will continue to enter into and benefits from partnership with your country, we urge you to stop meddling in Nigeria domestic affairs, be less caustic in inflicting sanctions and be more proactive in helping to address their welfare, particularly, in the present as it concern the urgent provision of treatment drug for Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world.
The gruesome killing of Mohammar Gaddafi ,the former Libyan leader, parts from its colossal damage to Africa, is a clear classical manifestations of your country's quest to meddle in the domestic affairs of other nations, albeit, to the detriment of the people. Such intrusive manipulation has exacerbated corruptions, divisions, motivates conflicts and triggered abject poverty and insecurity In Nigeria and Africans.
One is surprised that at one instance, some of the nation's citizen you placed visa restrictions, were abruptly lifted against the dictates of law, and to the confusion of many Nigerians. This ought not to be so. It only signifies the fact that your system of election and governance monitoring is faulty or out rightly biased.
While we want to state it vehemently that your country US, successful monitor or observers of elections in Nigeria and Africans can never lead to democracy of democratic norms in Nigeria and Africans.
We urge you, without delay, to as a matter of urgency promptly repatriate all the stolen money by elected government official of Nigeria that your country’ United State of America are ware house in their banks and consequently desist from scapegoating Nigeria. Your government must allow Nigeria to evolve her own peculiar types of home-grown democracy. Nigerians are more interested in foreign partnership that will boost her economy and enhance robust investment in energy and infrastructure, so as to positively impact the life of average Nigerians that will douse the abject poverty that are snuffing life out of ordinary citizen We thus here by call on the concerned authorities to ensure that such a sanction targeted designated individual, their immediate family and children and businesses.
We urge that target sanctions, such as travel bans, financial restrictions, should be strictly enforced with all effectiveness and sophistications it requires, this will promotes rule of law, electoral credibility and eliminate every manifestations of impunity.
We urge the embassy to declassify and stop withholding the particular of those affected. Sanctions work best when they are supported by the international community. Sanctions have worked best when aimed at a specific outcome, such as a peace agreement, or ending one country’s support for war in a neighboring.
We totally condemn every acts of violence, voter intimidation, election rigging or corruption that undermined Nigeria’s democratic process.
We urged all stakeholders participating in the future elections to desist from participating in electoral violence, and uphold the tenets of democracy, facilitate genuinely free and fair elections, and conduct it in a transparent and non-violent manner.
It must work with the Nigerian government to pass and implement the Electoral Acts Bills, and also work with all stakeholder to establish a clear cut framework to monitor, identify and determine election riggers, this, they can do along with the court and the civil society groups.
We call on the American government, to sustain its partnership with the Nigerian government, helping her, with great emphasis on improving on its data intelligence and building indigenous democratic political parties and institutions as an essential part of transformation strategies.
While we anticipate and supports diligent responsive leadership.
COMRADE, BATURE THOMAS JOHNSON.
President – [IAADHR] International Association for Advancement and Defense of Human Rights.