Nigeria’s general election next month risks being cancelled or postponed because of rising insecurity, the country’s election chief has said.
If not dealt with, insecurity “could hinder declaration of election results and precipitate a constitutional crisis”, said Mahmood Yakubu.
Local media say 15 states are likely to experience violence before, during and after the elections.
Fixing insecurity is one of the key issues in the presidential campaign.
More than 90 million Nigerians have registered to vote in the 25 February election.
Five states in the south-east, where a separatist group is agitating for a breakaway country, and four states in the north-western region, where armed gangs known as “bandits” are active, are among those listed as areas of concern.
The north-east region is also of concern. It is there that the militant Islamist group Boko Haram and an IS-linked affiliate, continue to carry out deadly attacks with devastating consequences. In central Nigeria clashes between herders and farmers remain a big threat.
The country’s commercial hub Lagos in the south-west was also named as another area likely to witness election-related violence.
In a sign that the problem of insecurity is spreading, over the weekend gunmen kidnapped 32 people at a train station in the southern Edo state.
Despite problems surrounding other elections, the vote has never been cancelled since democracy was restored in 1999.
The Nigerian government is yet to react to Mr Yakubu’s comments.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is leaving office after eight years, has constantly sought to reassure the country that his government would ensure security is in place during the election.
Eighteen candidates are hoping to replace Mr Buhari. Bola Tinubu of the governing APC, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Peter Obi of the Labour Party are being seen as the leading candidates in the contest.
#usnewsRecommend0 recommendationsPublished in