Roundup: Nigerian gov't watches opposition's pre-election moves, warns against violence

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 5, 2019
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by Olatunji Saliu

ABUJA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian government is closely watching the "desperate moves" made by opposition politicians as general elections in the country are approaching, while warning that the opposition is likely to stir up violence before, during and after the elections.

"The opposition is approaching the election with an incredible level of desperation," Nigerian Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.

Mohammed said that the government had "credible intelligence" that these "desperate moves" made by the opposition politicians were aimed at scuttling or discrediting the elections.

Nigeria will hold general elections on Feb. 16 to elect the country's president and national assembly members, and on March 2 to elect state governors and state legislators.

Mohammed said, the "desperate moves" made by the opposition included a plan to send a 10-man delegation to capital cities of some Western countries to "spread concocted lies" against the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

"They (the opposition) are working hard to discredit the forthcoming election before, during and after the polls. Specifically, they are sending a delegation to some Western capitals, including London, Brussels, and Washington DC, to push the concocted line that the Buhari administration has perfected the plan to rig the polls," the minister said.

The opposition was also pushing for a rejection of the results if the incumbent president is re-elected, Mohammed said, adding that instigating violence in certain parts of the country was also included among the opposition's plans.

In addition, Mohammed accused the opposition of targeting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria's electoral body, and the police -- two key institutions that are most critical to the success of the elections.

Election periods in Nigeria, also Africa's largest economy, were often characterized by great anxiety, usually heightened by reckless utterances and actions of some politicians.

On Jan. 21, the government said that there were security threats to the upcoming general elections, alerting citizens of the western African country to be wary of pending attacks before, during, and after the polls.

The government said it had credible intelligence that some opposition politicians had plans to orchestrate widespread violence to truncate the elections.

Last week, the country's national security adviser met with state governors, alerting them of plans by some groups to scuttle the polls via widespread violence.

Some of the previous elections in the country were marred by post-election violence in which scores were reportedly killed.

In 2011, immediately after the elections, widespread violence erupted in the northern part of the country.

In 2015, INEC had to reschedule the general elections due to security concerns. Enditem

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