Elections in Nigeria postponed for six weeks to help those controlled by Boko Haram to vote

Boko Haram have driven around 1.5 million people from their homes

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The Independent Online

Millions of people under the grip of Boko Haram could be given the chance to vote in Nigeria as the elections are postponed for six weeks in order to secure northeastern areas from their sway.

The presidential and legislative elections were set for 14 February, however the Nigerian electoral commission will use the extra time to involve disenfranchised people.

 

Boko Haram have long caused disruption and death in large swathes of the country and a major operation involving warplanes and ground troops from Chad and Nigeria has already has forced the insurgents from a dozen towns and villages in the past 10 days.

Even greater military strikes by more countries are planned after 1.5 million people have been driven from their homes by the extreme organisation whose name is translated to “western education is forbidden.”

The electoral commission official, who spoke anonymously, said the Independent National Electoral Commission will announce the postponement at a news conference later today.

Officials in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had been calling for a postponement, which is opposed by an opposition coalition fielding his chief rival, former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari.

Supporters of both sides are threatening violence if their candidate does not win. Some 800 people were killed in riots in the mainly Muslim north after Buhari, a Muslim, lost 2011 elections to Jonathan, a Christian from the south.

A postponement also will give electoral officials more time to deliver some 30 million voter cards. The commission had said the non-delivery of cards to nearly half of the 68.8 million registered voters was not a good reason to delay the vote.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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