Dozens of people have been killed in a wave of violence related to presidential and parliamentary elections in Nigeria, civil society groups monitoring the vote say, as the country is awaiting results of the Saturday polls.
Nigerian Civil Society Organisation, the Situation Room which comprises of more than 70 civil society groups has said on Monday that, election – related violence has led to the death of at least 39 Nigerians, in the last two days.
A lieutenant and six gunmen died in a firefight, which broke out when the attackers barricaded a major road into the town and ambushed the troops, the acting director of army public relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, said.
Although the motive behind the attack was not clear, the group has noted, the worst incident was in Abonnema in Rivers State, around 14 kilometers west of the main oil industry city of Port Harcourt, where the army said seven people died in a shootout between an unidentified gang and Nigerian soldiers.
The Situation Room further referred to reports that just over a quarter of the nearly 120,000 polling units were under-policed, and that there were “shortfalls and gaps” in security elsewhere.
According to the Nigeria Police Force, about 128 people have been arrested nationwide for election – related offenses, including homicide, theft of ballot boxes and vote fraud. It added that officers also recovered 38 weapons and a cache of explosives.
However, the head of the African Union observer mission in Nigeria who is the former prime minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegnon has on Monday described Nigeria’s elections as “generally peaceful.”
As the country awaits the announcement of results of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) possibly today or more likely, tomorrow, analysts say the poll pitting President Muhammadu Buhari against businessman Atiku Abubakar will be Nigeria’s tightest since the end of military rule in 1999.
The Situation Room had over 8,000 observers around the country to monitor Saturday’s vote, in which President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a second term in office.