Nigerian authorities debate how to secure elections

Abuja – Top Nigerian government officials on Tuesday debated how ensure security during Nigeria’s upcoming general elections, hours after regaining control over a strategic town in the country’s north-east from Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.


The elections, which were initially set for 14 February, were rescheduled shortly before the polls due to security concerns in north-eastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram has killed an estimated 13 000 people since 2009.

President Goodluck Jonathan, the chair of the election commission, Attahiru Jega, as well as heads of the military and security agencies were meeting in the capital, Abuja, to decide how best to create enough security for citizens to cast their vote freely and fairly during elections now set for 28 March.

The meeting comes after troops recaptured the strategic town of Bama, in north-eastern Borno State, after days of clashes with the terrorists, army spokesperson Chris Olukolade said late on Monday.

Boko Haram had been in control of Bama for the past six months.

The Chadian army, which is supporting Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram, was pursuing the insurgents, who were fleeing towards the border with Chad, said Olukolade.

Nigerian soldiers also regained control over the town of Goniri, one of the last Boko Haram strongholds in northern Yobe State, the army spokesperson added.

Boko Haram, which seeks to establish a state with its very strict interpretation of Islamic law, has been controlling numerous towns in north-eastern Nigeria but recently lost much ground.