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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Evelyn Knapp, a supporter of former President Donald, waves to passersby outside of Trump's Mar-a-L...
Associated Press

Trump legal woes force another moment of choosing for GOP

From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his first presidential campaign, a searing question has hung over the Republican Party: Is this the moment to break from Donald Trump?
15 hours ago
FILE - The Silicon Valley Bank logo is seen at an open branch in Pasadena, Calif., on March 13, 202...
Associated Press

Army of lobbyists helped water down banking regulations

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Red-state Democrats facing grim reelection prospects would join forces with Republicans to slash bank regulations — demonstrating a willingness to work with President Donald Trump while bucking many in their party.
15 hours ago
FILE - This Sept. 2015, photo provided by NOAA Fisheries shows an aerial view of adult female South...
Associated Press

Researchers: Inbreeding a big problem for endangered orcas

People have taken many steps in recent decades to help the Pacific Northwest's endangered killer whales, which have long suffered from starvation, pollution and the legacy of having many of their number captured for display in marine parks.
2 days ago
FILE - Hiring signs are displayed at a grocery store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Jan. 13, 2023. Emp...
Associated Press

Pay transparency is spreading. Here’s what you need to know

U.S. employers are increasingly posting salary ranges for job openings, even in states where it’s not required by law, according to analysts with several major job search websites.
2 days ago
Meadowdale High School 9th grade students Juanangel Avila, right, and Legacy Marshall, left, work t...
David Klepper and Manuel Valdes, Associated Press

Seattle high school teacher advocates for better digital literacy in schools

Shawn Lee, a high school social studies teacher in Seattle, wants to see lessons on internet akin to a kind of 21st century driver's education, an essential for modern life.
2 days ago
South Carolina Senators hear from the parents of people who died from fentanyl overdose on Jan. 19,...
Associated Press

With overdoses up, states look at harsher fentanyl penalties

State lawmakers nationwide are responding to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history by pushing harsher penalties for possessing fentanyl and other powerful lab-made opioids that are connected to about 70,000 deaths a year.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Nigerian universities to close for vote over security fears