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US Targets Nigerians Accused of Voting Wrongs

FILE: Illustration of a sample U.S. Visa card. Uploaded March 31, 2023.

WASHINGTON - The United States said Monday it was taking action against Nigerians who undermined this year's election, which is being contested by opposition leaders who allege irregularities.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States would refuse to issue visas to "specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process during Nigeria's 2023 elections cycle."

"These actions are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the government of Nigeria as a whole," Blinken said in a statement.

The State Department did not provide the names of those affected or offer further details. Visa issues are generally confidential under U.S. law.

The United States has congratulated President-elect Bola Tinubu, the ruling-party candidate who is set to be sworn in on May 29 to helm Africa's most populous nation.

Both the main opposition leader Atiku Abubakar, who came second, and outsider Peter Obi, who was third, have contested the results in court.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has acknowledged "glitches" during the vote but has dismissed claims that the process was not free and fair.