The government of United Kingdom has raised an alarm over plots to subvert democratic processes in Nigeria, threatening to severely sanction those behind such moves.

“The UK is aware of attempts to subvert democratic processes at the National or State level,” the UK said in a statement that was issued today, adding that “We are prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours.”

In the statement that was released on Tuesday in Abuja by the British High Commission ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, the UK’s Minister of State for Development & Africa, Andrew Mitchell, explained how important Nigeria is to the UK.

The UK said the actions could include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under its human rights regulations.

Nigeria holds its general elections in February and March 2023 and the UK government said it is monitoring the run-up to the elections closely.

The UK government called for free, fair, and credible elections, urging all actors in Nigeria to intervene proactively to calm any tensions and prevent violence in the periods before, during and after the elections.

The UK government restated its commitment to support credible and inclusive elections, adding that the success of the election is fundamental to Nigeria’s continued democratic growth and the future of regional and global democracy.

“Nigeria matters to the UK, and we are following the run-up to these Presidential, National Assembly and Gubernatorial elections very closely,” Mitchell said.

The UK Government promised to continue to work closely with INEC and Nigerian civil society partners to provide advisory support on electoral and legal reforms, assist in strengthening democratic institutions, and advocate for the importance of civil society engagement in electoral and democratic processes to help deliver credible elections.