Nigeria Postpones Presidential Election Over Security Fears
The electoral commission in Nigeria has postponed the 14 February presidential election to 28 March over concerns about the security situation.
Commission chief Attahiru Jega said he had been told troops would not be available to help patrol the ballot because they would be fighting Boko Haram militants in the north-east.
Nigeria and four other states plan to deploy a joint force of 8,700 soldiers.
Both the Nigerian opposition and the US criticised the delay.
The head of the party of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who is challenging incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, said the “provocative” move was a “major setback for Nigerian democracy”.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US was “deeply disappointed”, adding: “Political interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission is unacceptable, and it is critical that the government not use security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process.”
The postponement is a highly contentious move, the BBC’s Will Ross reports from Lagos.
Officials from the main opposition party accuse the military of forcing the electoral commission into the delay to help the sitting president’s campaign.
It looks set to be a tight race between Mr Jonathan and Mr Buhari, our correspondent says.
The postponement may well increase the tension which is already palpable, he adds.
Read more at BBC