Postponed Election: Foreign observers plead for visa extension

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (3rd, R); Chief Observer, EU Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, Maria Arena (3rd, L); INEC Commissioners and other members of the Mission, during their visit to INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday (21/1/19). 00706/21/1/2019/Hogan Bassey/BJO/NAN
FILE: INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (3rd, R); Chief Observer, EU Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, Maria Arena (3rd, L); INEC Commissioners and other members of the Mission, during their visit to INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday (21/1/19). 00706/21/1/2019/Hogan Bassey/BJO/NAN

A South African based international election observer, the Pan African Women Project, has appealed to the federal government to extend the visas of all foreign observers to enable them remain until March 9, when the rescheduled polls are expected to take place .

The group, which is accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), also urged the commission to avoid further postponement.

The INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on Saturday, few hours to the kick off of election, announced the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections from February 16 to 23. The governorship and state assembly elections were also postponed from March 2 to 9.

According to a report on Channels TV, on Tuesday, the group’s publicity secretary, Mphoentle Keitseng, made the appeal at a press briefing in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

“The Nigerian government should instruct the Comptroller General of Immigration to extend the visas for all foreign observers enabling to stay until the March the 9th 2019 general elections,” Ms Keitseng said.

“Many measures are put in place by different observer groups to ensure that the 2019 general elections will be transparent and credible and should meet all international standards. As such, further postponement should be avoided,” she added.

According to the report, the group also called on Nigerians to remain calm and support INEC.

It urged INEC to work towards instilling confidence in the process ”by constantly updating the public on its activities towards the rescheduled election date”.

“The Nigerian government should take into cognisance that the entire world is watching with keen interest, the entire electoral process by Nigeria.”

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