Chatham House - Flickr

Christian charities call for calm after Nigeria postpones general election

Christian Aid is working with Tearfund to promote peace in Nigeria following the announcement that the West African nation's general election will be postponed.

Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shared the news in the early hours of Saturday morning - a few hours before polls were scheduled to open.

There has been growing concern since the election was rescheduled to 23rd February that some citizens will not voice their grievances peacefully but resort to violence.

 

Speaking from Abuja, the country manager for Christian Aid Nigeria, Charles Usie, said: "The postponement has definitely disrupted a lot of things, and there are fears that this could lead to a higher level of voter apathy than would have happened if the election had taken place on Saturday.

"This is because many people had to travel to locations where they are registered to vote and might be discouraged from travelling long distances again.

"However, we have seen over the years that Nigerians are a resilient people.

"This might just be the push that is needed for citizens to go out en masse to vote. Nevertheless, there is still a very real risk that the outcome of the polls could trigger post-election violence, especially in already volatile areas."

Christian Aid has partnered with the Christian relief and development charity Tearfund to raise a fund to "mitigate collaboratively against this potential violence".

The charities will work with key stakeholders like the Emergency Management Authority, traditional and faith leaders, INEC and citizens across four volatile states in the country, including Benue and Kaduna.

 

The Presidential election will be contested by the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, and his primary challenger, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the major opposition party, alongside 71 other candidates.

Buhari's party - The All Progressives Congress, and Abubakar's - The People's Democratic Party, have accused each other of colluding with INEC to delay the election.

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.



« Back to the last issue

You may also like...

Nigeria's government needs to redouble its efforts to end the... More

The World Bishops' Council (WBC) has urged Nigerian politicians... More

There have been calls for the Nigerian military to do more to... More

Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) have warned... More