A protest is taking place in Port Harcourt as of Tuesday, April 2, to denounce the resuming of the collation of the governorship elections' results. The protest comes despite the State Government's ban on demonstrations due to the increased frequency of election-related protests in Port Harcourt in recent days. An increased security presence has been deployed in the area. The police have closed the Expressway from the Waterlines to the GRA junctions and road diversions have been put in place at Olu Obasanjo and Polo Club roads. Further election-related protests are possible in the near term.
Nigeria held gubernatorial and state legislative elections on Saturday, March 9, following nationwide presidential elections on February 23. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reported "widespread disruptions" at polling places, including voter intimidation and some reports of violence.
The commissioner of Rivers State previously suspended the March 9 electoral process in the state due to electoral violence, reports of voters being intimidated by criminals and security operatives, and various other electoral irregularities. Hundreds of women protested in Port Harcourt on March 28, calling for the immediate removal of the Electoral Commissioner over perceived controversial election decisions.
INEC announced on March 27, that officials would resume vote collation and publish the results between April 2-5, with supplementary elections on April 13, if necessary. Final results would then be announced between April 13-15.
Individuals in Nigeria are advised to monitor the situation, avoid public political demonstrations due to the risk of violence, anticipate a heightened security presence and localized disruptions during any reelection dates, and adhere to all instructions issued by 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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