A fire ignited in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) building located in the Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area (LGA) in Akwa Ibom state on Friday, March 8, reportedly destroyed the electoral materials for the gubernatorial elections which will be held throughout Nigeria on Saturday, March 9. It remains unclear how the fire will affect the election in this area. The cause of the fire remains unclear, but is likely linked to politically-motivated criminals. An increased security presence is to be anticipated in the area.
Heightened political tensions and related political demonstrations are possible in Akwa Ibom in the lead-up to the elections.
Voters will elect governors and members of the state houses of assembly on March 9, following the presidential elections which took place on February 23. Incumbent President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party won the February 23 presidential election, with 56 percent of the vote versus 41 percent for the opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, his main challenger from the People's Democratic Party (PDP). Abubakar announced he will challenge the results in court, claiming the vote was marred with fraud.
Individuals in Nigeria are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate significant business and transportation disruptions and increased security measures, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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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