The British High Commission in Nigeria has condemned the use of inciting ethno-religious languages by some public and political figures during the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections.
The Commission expressed concern about the intimidation of voters during the voting process.
The UK stated on Tuesday on its Twitter page that it had observed and received reports of voter suppression in a number of voting locations.
They then urged all political leaders to stop using such language and called their spokespersons to order.
We witnessed and received credible reports from other observer missions and civil society organisations of vote buying and voter intimidation, the destruction and hijacking of election materials and the general disruption of the process in numerous states including Lagos, Enugu and Rivers.
We observed incidents of harassment of journalists. Freedom of speech and a free press are crucial for a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.
The UK is concerned by the use of inflammatory ethno-religious language by some public and political figures. We call on all leaders not just to distance themselves from this kind of language, but to prevent those who speak on their behalf from doing so in this way.
It is a testament to their commitment to democracy that many Nigerians were prepared to vote despite being faced with intimidation and hostility.
Furthermore, the Mission stated that the UK is prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence, as well as other anti-democratic behavior.
According to the mission, action could include denying people visas to the UK or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime.