Presidential and national assembly elections are set to take place on February 19. A second round of presidential elections will be organized within seven days of the first vote if none of the candidates secures 50 percent of the popular national vote. Gubernatorial and state assembly elections are also scheduled for March 2. The main presidential contenders are incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari from the All Progressive Congress (APC) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, of the People's Democratic party (PDP). Demonstrations and political rallies are to be anticipated in the weeks leading up to the vote. Even though presidential candidates signed a pledge to ensure peaceful elections, violent clashes cannot be ruled out; an increased security presence is likely at any election-related event. Militant attacks targeting election-related events or buildings are also possible in the coming weeks.
Presidential elections in Nigeria have a strong record of unrest, fraud allegations, and backroom dealings. In 2015, Boko Haram attacks on voting centers killed 41 people and in 2011 bomb attacks before the elections and deadly post-election election clashes left more than 1000 people dead. Moreover, the lack of voter cards and technical problems surrounding biometric card readers hampered previous election processes.
Individuals in Nigeria are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. The security environment in Nigeria remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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