Land borders shut ahead of Nigeria election as soldiers patrol, residents stock-up – National

Nigerian authorities have begun moving highly sensitive ballots to polling stations across the country under armed security, with soldiers patrolling potential hotspot states and land borders closed ahead of Saturday’s national elections. rice field.

“Internal movement is limited to polling stations. There will be no movement of people across borders,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

Security officials have previously announced restrictions on vehicle movement from 12:00 (2300 GMT on Friday) to 6:00 (1700 GMT) on Saturday as a measure to ensure safety.

Widespread unrest is a major concern for voters electing a new MP and president to replace Muhammad Buhari, who has not been allowed to run again after eight years in office.

In northern Kano state, the commercial capital of Lagos, and the southeastern Anambra state, which is dominated by separatist and gang violence, soldiers took to the streets 24 hours before the polls began.

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Officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Awka, the capital of Anambra state, were moving ballots, voting machines and gasoline generators to polling stations under military security.

Anambra’s resident INEC commissioner, Queen Elizabeth Ougu, said, “It’s classified material that you’re being moved today.”

Saturday’s elections face a chaotic backdrop of armed conflict in the northeast, high crime rates and shortages of cash, fuel and electricity.

Unsure of the outcome of the election, Nigerians stocked up on food and essentials. Violence can erupt after voting in Africa’s most populous country.

INEC President Mahmoud Yakub said preparations were going well, but he had suspended voting in another senate constituency in the southeastern Enugu state where an opposition Labor Party candidate was killed.

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A candidate from the Enugu East district and an election minibus driver belonging to another political party were killed in a coordinated attack in the southeastern Enugu state.

Yakubu said the vote for that seat will take place on March 11, when Nigerians will elect the country’s governor.

“Materials already delivered for the senatorial election will remain under the control of the state’s central bank until the new date of the election,” Yakub said at a press conference.

Flanked by police chiefs, Yakub said INEC was alert to possible attacks on its electronic systems. Results from polling stations are transmitted electronically using new voting machines.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh and MacDonald Dzirutwe from Lagos; Reporting by Seun Sanni from Awka and Abraham Achirga from Kano; Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe and Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Alex Richardson, James Macharia Chege, Tomasz Janowski and Mark Porter)

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