We are worried about violence – US

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…Says partners are paying attention to incidences

From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has expressed concern over the violence that has characterised the campaigns for the 2023 general elections.

Leonard expressed the concerns during a media chat with a select group of journalists in Abuja.

Leonard disclosed that partners of Nigeria are paying attention to happenings in the country as far as the elections are concerned.

Asked if the United States is worried about the development despite the peace accord signed by political parties and candidates, Leonard said: “Yeah, it did. As I said, it is the responsibility of everyone. And partners are paying attention to these things.

“And as I said, we have the visa sanctions for people who will go against that.

“But really, I think it is more up to individual Nigerians to examine themselves and say this is not something that we should be doing.”

Leonard further said people have a right to express their vote, saying that elections since 1999 where people have shown the enthusiasm for doing so, the United States wants to see, moving forward, in the coming days, a situation whereby people can execute their democratic rights.

On if the United States believed the peace accord will make impact on the peaceful conduct of elections in the country, Leonard said she hoped that leaders in the country take their commitment seriously.


Leonard who also spoke on the hardship associated with getting visa dates by those travelling to the United States, said it was true that as a result of COVID-19 and some of the disruptions, the United States fell grievously behind in staffing and processing visas.

Leonard however said she was happy to say that in 2022, the United States processed more student visas than it did in 2019.

“And now, the interview waiver programme has been expanded to accommodate people who have made good use of their visa that expired in the last 48 months. And those appointments are available, more or less in real time now.

“So, we are really coming to the backlog and we have reduced wait times for business and tourism visas by 300 days just in the last few months because we are back up to staffing and the interview waiver programme is really helping us to clean up some of those,” Leonard stated.

Leonard who assured that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, thanked the Nigerian travelling public for their patience during the difficult period.