January 22, 2015

Nigeria elections: Security chief urges vote delay

Millions of voters still do not have their biometric ID cards
Millions of voters still do not have their biometric ID cards

Nigeria’s national security adviser has urged the electoral commission to delay next month’s elections to allow more time for voter card distribution.

The polls are the first in Nigeria to require voters to have biometric cards.

Nigeria, wracked by a violent uprising by Islamists Boko Haram, is scheduled to hold the election on 14 February.

The security chief, Sambo Dasuki, also said that neighbouring Chad was sending troops to help fight the militants, who control many towns and villages.

And he criticised “cowards” within Nigeria’s armed forces for hampering the campaign against the insurgents.

“We have people who use every excuse in this world not to fight,” he told an audience at the Chatham House think-tank in London, adding “there is no high-level conspiracy within the army not to end the insurgency”.

Several soldiers have complained about not being given the weapons they need to fight Boko Haram.

Speaking about the forthcoming election, Mr Dasuki said 30 million cards had been distributed over the last year but the same number still remained to be handed out.

The measure was introduced to guard against electoral fraud.

President Goodluck Jonathan is standing for re-election. His main challenger is former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Dasuki, speaking at the London think-tank Chatham House, said he had told the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) that it would be sensible to postpone the poll within the three months it had to legally take place.

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