US disappointed by INEC postponement of election

US disappointed by INEC postponement of election

The United States government has
expressed ‘deep’ disappointment by
the decision to postpone Nigeria’s
presidential election, which had been
scheduled for February 14.

A statement by U.S. Secretary of
State, John Kerry, shortly after the
announcement of the poll shift by the
Chairman of the Independent
National Electoral Commission,
Attahiru Jega, on Saturday, said
political interference with INEC is
unacceptable.
Mr. Jega, while announcing the shift,
said INEC’s decision follows a letter
from security agencies informing the
commission that security cannot be
guaranteed if the elections go ahead
as scheduled.
He said the Nigerian military is
currently engaged in operations
against Boko Haram insurgents in the
north-eastern part of the country.

“Last Wednesday…the office of the
National Security Adviser (NSA)
wrote a letter to the Commission,
drawing attention to recent
developments in four Northeast states
of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and
Gombe currently experiencing the
challenge of insurgency.

“The letter stated that security could
not be guaranteed during the
proposed period in February for the
general elections,” Mr. Jega said.
But the U.S. government in its
reaction said “it is critical that the
government not use security concerns
as a pretext for impeding the
democratic process”.

Mr. Jega had also on Saturday
announced new dates of March 28
and April 11 for national and state
elections.
The US said the international
community would be watching
closely as the Nigerian government
prepares for elections on the newly
scheduled dates.

“The United States underscores the importance of
ensuring that there are no further delays.
“As I reaffirmed when I visited Lagos last month,
we support a free, transparent, and credible
electoral process in Nigeria and renew our calls on
all candidates, their supporters, and Nigerian
citizens to maintain calm and reject election-
related violence,” Mr. Kerry said.

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