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Nigerian government orders border closure ahead of elections

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Staff Writer | February 15, 2019
The Nigerian government on Thursday ordered the closure of all land borders to ensure a smooth process of the country's coming presidential election.
Africa   Nigeria will hold general elections on Saturday
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.