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Edo, Ondo polls: UK threatens sanctions against violence sponsors

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By Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

The United Kingdom Tuesday said it will deploy observers to Edo and Ondo states to monitor governorship elections.

It also said it will take action against sponsors of violence, including travel ban to the United Kingdom.

But it said the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has met with the leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition, People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The decisions of the UK Government were contained in a statement in Abuja by the High Commission to Nigeria.

The statement said: “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.

“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.

“Our High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has held meetings with leaders of the two main political parties, the APC and PDP.

“The discussions focused on the need for the parties’ leaders to prevail on supporters to avoid violence before and after the elections and we welcome the Edo candidates‘signature of the National Peace Committee and INEC convened peace accord yesterday.

“We will be deploying observation missions to both the Edo and Ondo elections and supporting civil society led observation.

“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 together to deliver free, fair and credible elections.”

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