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Nigerian government orders border closure ahead of elections

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Staff Writer | February 15, 2019
Africa   Nigeria will hold general elections on Saturday

The Nigerian government on Thursday ordered the closure of all land borders to ensure a smooth process of the country's coming presidential election.

The most populous country in Africa will hold general elections on Saturday to elect the president and national assembly members.

In a terse statement, Minister of Interior Abdulrahman Dambazau said the land borders will be closed from Friday to Sunday.

In a separate statement, Muhammad Babandede, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service, said there would be a restriction of movements across the Nigerian borders during the election and on the days announced.

Likewise, the police said there would be a restriction of vehicular movement on Saturday, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. local time. According to a statement by the national police spokesman, Frank Mba, the measure was taken to ensure hitch-free polls.

"The restriction will assist the security agencies in effectively policing the electoral process, thereby preventing hoodlums and criminally-minded elements from hijacking and disrupting the electoral process," Mba said.

Security is often a major concern at Nigerian elections. Apart from politically-linked violence among supporters of rival political parties, the country's armed forces are in a battle with terror group Boko Haram which is seeking to establish an Islamic state in the northeast region.

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