Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says he has ordered police and military to be “ruthless” with anyone attempting to tamper with the country’s postponed presidential elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced late Friday that the elections would be delayed for a week — just hours before polls were set to open for some 84 million registered voters.
INEC said the presidential election will be held this coming Saturday, while governorship and state assembly elections have been pushed to March 9th, citing logistical difficulties in the distribution of election materials.
Speaking Monday to an emergency meeting of his APC party in Abuja, Buhari, 76, accused INEC of “incompetence” and issued a stern warning to anyone trying to steal or destroy ballot boxes and voting materials.
“I am going to warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs or snatch [ballot] boxes or to disturb the voting system, he will do it at the expense of his life,” the president said.
Buhari’s APC party and the opposition PDP have accused each other of trying to rig the vote.
The president faces a tough challenge from PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar.