Abuja, Feb 16 (IANS) In the wake of a massacre that claimed 66 lives on the eve of the country’s presidential election on Saturday, the national polling body announced the poll have been postponed until February 23 as scheduled voting was not “feasible”.
Chairman of Nigeria’s electoral body Mahmood Yakubu announced this at a press conference just hours ahead of the scheduled voting exercises on Saturday.
“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the Commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said.
At least 66 people, including 22 children and 12 women were killed on Friday by unidentified gunmen in Kaduna state, state government spokesman Samuel Aruwan said in a statement.
Some eight settlements were attacked, but the cause of the violence was not unclear, Xinhua news agency reported.
Some arrests have been made, Aruwan added, urging communities, traditional and religious leaders to dissuade residents from any reprisal attacks and leave matters in security and law enforcement agencies’ hands.
On January 22, the Nigerian government had alleged there were security threats to the upcoming general elections in the country, alerting citizens of the west African country to be wary of pending attacks before, during, and after the polls.
Kaduna, located in the northern part of the country, was among states earlier listed by the government as one of the flashpoint areas.