The British government on Thursday expressed surprise at its Nigerian counterpart’s reaction to the recent move to bring sanity into the country electoral process.
The United Kingdom had last week threatened to impose a visa ban and asset seizure on perpetrators of election fraud in the Edo and Ondo States governorship elections.
But the Federal Government had in its reaction described disrespectful to Nigeria’s sovereignty, moves by any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of its citizens and apply punitive measures unilaterally.
However, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, who addressed participants at an orientation programme for people with disability seeking Chevening scholarship opportunities in the UK, made it clear that the imposition of a visa restriction on perpetrators of electoral violence was the UK’s visa policy.
She noted that the policy determines who travels to the UK.
Laing said: “It is our visa policy, the UK, and we can determine who comes to the UK. So, that is a non-sovereign right.
“And all we are saying is that in line with Nigerian policy, that those who commit violence or who incite violence, there may be an implication for that person when they apply for a visa in the UK.
So, I think it is actually completely consistent with the Nigerian policy. This is our visa policy, but obviously, it is for Nigeria to determine how they deal with these perpetrators in Nigeria.”