Bayelsa guber: US urges candidates, supporters to reject violence

The United States on Wednesday vowed to apply necessary sanctions for political actors who incite violence in the coming Saturday’s Bayelsa election.

The United States Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, stated this in Lagos during a press conference on the election.

She assured that the US would follow the election closely and deploy significant number of observers to monitor the process.

She said, “As friend of Nigeria and its people, we will follow the election closely. We will be out there in the field observing the election.

“I am aware that many other foreign, international organizations will also be on the ground in Bayelsa.  We will work closely with our colleagues and partners in the international community to promote a credible process that will benefit the people of Bayelsa.

“It is also critical that the Independent National Electoral Commission operates free from outside pressure and intimidation and in a totally objective manner.

“Voter intimidation, vote buying, interference by security forces, and violence cannot be tolerated.”

She said the professional conduct of all stakeholders – especially security forces – is crucial for free, fair, credible, transparent and peaceful elections.

According to her, the Nigerian security services must provide a safe, secure, and impartial environment for the people of Bayelsa to exercise their right to vote.

She said, “Political actors, political parties, bloggers and other influencers must not engage in hate speech or incite violence.  People who engage in such conduct must be held accountable.

“I encourage all eligible voters in Bayelsa to participate in the upcoming election and exercise their political franchise.”

The US believes a large turnout “will enhance the credibility of the election and Nigeria’s democratic reputation.”

“I would especially ask that every effort be made to boost the participation of women, youth and people living with disabilities,” she added.

She said the US was committed to help Nigeria foster a “continuous democratic tradition” which explains her several supports in “strengthening the electoral process since 1999.”

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