Nigerians urged to conduct peaceful elections on Saturday

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A group of Nigerian refugees rest in the Cameroon town of Mora after fleeing armed attacks. Photo: UNHCR/D. Mbaoire

Nigerian leaders and their supporters have been urged to refrain from violence during general elections due to take place on Saturday.

The call has been made by the head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) Mohammed Ibn Chambas.

The presidential and parliamentary elections originally scheduled for February 14 but were postponed by the electoral commission citing violence by the Boko Haram terrorists in the north-eastern part of the country.

Cathrine Hasselberg reports.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his main challenger, Muhammadu Buharu are reported to have signed an agreement to prevent violence in elections on Saturday.

Approximately 800 people were reportedly killed during the last election in 2011, when the two leaders faced each other at the polls.

The UN envoy for West Africa Mohammed Ibn Chambas, who started his mission to Nigeria on 15 March, continues to follow closely the situation in the country.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq says Mr Chambas has been traveling to different parts of the country to meet with candidates, as well as government and electoral officials.

“Mr. Chambas conveyed to all interlocutors the Secretary-General’s message for peaceful, free and credible elections. He urged all stakeholders to strive towards achieving this objective. In particular, he called on the security apparatus to be above board and to demonstrate professionalism in discharging its duties during and after elections.” (18″)

Nigeria is currently one of the non-permanent members of the Security Council, which is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

Cathrine Hasselberg, United Nations

Duration: 1’10″

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