New York

20 February 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Nigeria

Following the postponement of general elections in Nigeria to 28 March and 11 April, the Secretary-General strongly urges the Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure these new dates are maintained, in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.  He welcomes the commitments by the candidates to the Presidency to respect the new calendar.

The Secretary-General commends the progress made by INEC in the preparation for the elections, including the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards.  He urges all relevant national institutions to continue to work with INEC to ensure all voters can exercise their constitutional right to participate in the elections freely and without intimidation.

The Secretary-General nevertheless expresses strong concern over reports of election-related violence.  He urges all political leaders to adhere to their commitments under the Abuja Accord, to refrain from inflammatory statements and to immediately condemn any statements from their supporters that amount to an incitement to violence or subversion of the electoral process.

The Secretary-General reiterates to Nigerians that the United Nations will be closely following developments and is offering its full support to Nigeria at this important moment.  His High-Level Representative to Nigeria, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, will remain actively engaged with the Nigerian authorities over the coming weeks.