•NBC cautions broadcast stations on national unity 

From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

United States (US) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, yesterday, reiterated her country’s decision to deny or cancel visas for any Nigerian who try to undermine the 2023 general elections.

Leonard stated this in Abuja at the Multi-Stakeholders Dialogue with the theme: “Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Fostering Youth Action for Peace and Stability.’’

The dialogue was organised by the National O.rientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with Building Blocks for Peace Foundation.

The envoy said: “ The United States stands firm with Nigerian voters’ demand and desire for transparency and electoral integrity. Individual, who undercut or undermine the democratic process in any way, including through intimidation and violence, may be found ineligible for visas to travel to the United States. We took steps in the past to impose US’ visa restrictions against anyone complicit in undermining the electoral process. And in fact, Secretary of State, Blinken, announced just last week that we are imposing sanctions linked to past such behaviours.

“We will similarly deny or cancel visas for those who try to undermine the upcoming elections. Visa records are confidential, so we won’t announce the identities of those subject to visa sanctions. But, I can tell you I am personally aware of people whose travel to the US has been or will be blocked on these grounds. We look to all Nigerians to speak out against the use of violence or inflammatory rhetoric.’’

According to her, politicians and candidates have every right to challenge their opponents’ stance on issues.

Leonard said that U.S has full confidence in INEC and its ability to organise and conduct credible and transparent elections

Meanwhile, as the country heads for the polls this month, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned broadcast stations in the country against broadcast that compromised the unity of the country.

The NBC, in a statement issued in Abuja by its Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, reminded all broadcasters covering the forthcoming general elections to take note of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, and other relevant regulations guiding the broadcast of Elections in Nigeria.

It said: “The Commission has observed, with deep concerns, how ethics and ethos have been thrown to the winds by politicians, using broadcast media platforms. This is against the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which provides that in using materials for news and current affairs programmes, the broadcaster shall avoid hate speech, inflammatory, derogatory and divisive remarks or allusions.

 “The commission notes that some stations now glamorize these situations on their platforms. The National Broadcasting Commission reiterate that such station shall pay for their professional misdemeanour,” Ilelah said.