Earlier on Saturday, many protesters called for the vote to go ahead as scheduled

Nigeria election: Vote delay 'a setback for democracy'

Nigeria's opposition says the decision to postpone the 14 February presidential elections by six weeks is a "major setback for democracy".


The election commission said it moved the poll date because troops needed to protect polling stations were being deployed to fight Boko Haram.

The postponement was welcomed by the ruling party, but the US said it was "disappointed".

Nigeria has been battling an insurgency by Boko Haram in the north-east.

Thousands of people have died as a result of the militant group's insurgency over the past six years,

'Unfortunate development'

APC Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun said the move to delay the elections until 28 March, announced late on Saturday, was "highly provocative" and "a major setback for Nigerian democracy".

However, he urged Nigerians to "remain calm and deist from violence and any activity which will compound this unfortunate development".

Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari from the All Progressives Congress (APC) is challenging incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, who heads the People's Democratic Party (PDP), in the upcoming elections.

Correspondents say it looks set to be a tight race between the two.

Opposition officials accuse the military of forcing the electoral commission into the delay to help the sitting president's campaign.

However, Attahiru Jega, head of the election commission, said the postponement was necessary as he had been told that troops would not be available to protect voters as they were too busy conducting operations against Boko Haram.

"The commission cannot lightly wave off the advice of the nation's security chiefs," he said.

The country's national security adviser had called for a postponement last month, saying that more time was needed to distribute biometric voter cards.

Credit : BBC

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