AP

Nigerian universities to close for vote over security fears

Feb 8, 2023, 10:47 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 1:24 pm

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian authorities on Thursday directed all universities to shut down for nearly three weeks for this month’s presidential elections, citing security concerns.

The National Universities Commission said “concerns expressed on the security of staff, students and properties of our respective institutions,” were a factor in the decision, in a letter to universities signed by Chris Maiyaki, its deputy executive secretary.

On Feb. 25, Nigerians will elect a successor for President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as state governors and lawmakers. An unprecedented 94 million are registered to vote.

The decision to close the country’s more than 200 universities from Feb. 22 to March 14 followed “extensive consultations with the relevant security agencies,” Maiyaki said.

Nigeria is battling various armed groups in its northwest and southeast, while overstretched security forces continue to fight decade-long extremist violence in the northeast. In recent years, gunmen have targeted universities in the troubled northern region, with hundreds of students abducted and later freed — sometimes in exchange for ransoms.

In addition to ensuring the safety of students, the university closure will also let students enrolled at faculties in other parts of the country return where they’re registered to vote, Haruna Lawal Ajo, the university commission’s director of public affairs, told The Associated Press. Nigeria’s electoral law doesn’t allow people to vote away from where they’re registered.

With students comprising 28% of the electorate, the planned closure could boost election-day turnout that has been low in previous voting. Only 34% of eligible voters cast their ballots in the 2019 presidential election, the lowest turnout since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999.

“Most of the students are above 18 and have vote cards, they can exercise their civic right,” Ajo said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

1 day ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

3 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

4 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

4 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

5 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

6 days ago

Nigerian universities to close for vote over security fears