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Nigeria postpones national elections due to Boko Haram threat

Twenty-one out of 37 of Nigeria's resident electoral commissioners opposed the reschedule, but security agencies informed the group's chairman they would not be available to support the elections due to operations planned against Boko Haram in the north.

By
Fred Lambert
Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at Toronto International Airport, June 24, 2010. Jonathan had urged postponement of February 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria due to the threat of Boko Haram. On February 7, 2014, the elections were officially rescheduled for March 28. File photo by Dave Chan/UPI
Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at Toronto International Airport, June 24, 2010. Jonathan had urged postponement of February 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria due to the threat of Boko Haram. On February 7, 2014, the elections were officially rescheduled for March 28. File photo by Dave Chan/UPI | License Photo

ABUJA, Nigeria, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Presidential elections in Nigeria have been postponed by over a month in the face of security concerns involving Islamic militant group Boko Haram.

The elections were originally scheduled for Feb. 14 and will now be held March 28.

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The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan called for the postponement in light of attacks by Boko Haram and military operations against the group, stirring widespread debate in the country. Political parties in opposition to President Jonathan characterized the reschedule as an attempt to prevent defeat at the polls, while proponents argued that about 40 percent of voter cards were not yet issued in several of Nigeria's states.

Following meetings Saturday by multiple political parties and the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, 21 of the INEC's 37 resident electoral commissioners -- each representing a Nigerian state and the capital Abuja -- voted in opposition to a reschedule, while 16 voted in favor.

On the same day, INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega received written notice from Nigeria's security agencies informing him they would not be available to provide protection for February elections due to a six-week military operation planned against Boko Haram forces in the northeast.

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The offensive is slated to begin Feb. 14, the date elections would have been held.

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