Tags: Islamist | election | Nigeria | coup | military

Nigeria Delays Elections for Six Weeks as Islamist Attacks Rage

Saturday, 07 February 2015 05:49 PM

Nigeria announced a six-week postponement of presidential and legislative elections that were scheduled to be held Feb. 14 because of worsening attacks by Islamist militants.

Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Attahiru Jega said the presidential and legislative elections will be held March 28, followed by state gubernatorial and legislative votes on April 11. The delay will help the commission finish distributing biometric cards to the 68.8 million registered voters.

Security “is not under control of INEC,” Jega told reporters late Saturday in Abuja, the capital. “We hope and pray the security situation will improve.”

Boko Haram has been battling for the past six years to establish Islamic law in Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation. The group killed more than 4,700 people last year, double the number who died in 2013, according to estimates from Bath, U.K.-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. African Union officials have agreed to create a regional force to fight the group. More than 1 million Nigerians have fled their homes because of the violence.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party will face a united opposition led by former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in what analysts expect will be the tightest contest since the PDP came to power in 1999.

Civil-rights groups said the military and security services pressured the electoral commission to delay the vote.

“For something they have not been able to deal with in the past years, they might not deal with in six weeks. They could seek another postponement because they might not solve it,” Jibrin Ibrahim, director of the Abuja-based Centre for Democracy and Development, said on Saturday by phone. “The implication is that we may not have an election. It is a coup by the military.”

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Nigeria announced a six-week postponement of presidential and legislative elections that were scheduled to be held Feb. 14 because of worsening attacks by Islamist militants.Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Attahiru Jega said the presidential and...
Islamist, election, Nigeria, coup, military
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2015-49-07
Saturday, 07 February 2015 05:49 PM
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