The United Kingdom on Tuesday said it will not hesitate to take actions against individuals it identifies as causing violence in the imminent elections in Edo and Ondo states.
According to a statement tweeted via the British High Commission, the UK sees the elections as another opportunity to strengthen Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
“As a friend and partner of Nigeria we are closely following the lead up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively,” the statement said.
“These elections are important, both as an essential element of effective governance within both states and an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions.”
The UK’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has met with leaders of two main political parties, APC and PDP, as part of efforts to ensure the elections are held peacefully.
“The discussions focused on the need for the parties’ leaders to prevail on supporters to avoid violence before and after the elections,” the statement added.
The UK also said it welcomed the signing of a peace accord agreed to by major political parties and their candidates in Edo state earlier on Tuesday.
“We will be deploying observation missions to both the Edo and Ondo elections and supporting civil society led observation,” the statement continued.
“The UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and, just as we did in the general election in 2019, will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during the elections. This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK based assets or prosecution under International law.
“The UK will continue to provide support and engagement as we move towards these elections. We urge INEC, the police and all other agencies involved to work toegether to deliver free, fair and credible elections.”