Nigeria shuts borders, limits car movement on elections eve

Friday February 24 2023
A police officer stops a car at a checkpoint

A police officer stops a car at a checkpoint ahead of the February 25 presidential election in Nigeria. PHOTO | PIUS UTOMI EKPEI | AFP


Nigeria has shut its land borders and restricted traffic movement across the country ahead of Saturday’s elections in which 18 candidates are seeking to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

The federal government on Thursday directed the total closure of all land borders ahead of Saturday’s presidential poll which is being held concurrently with National Assembly elections.

The Comptroller General for the National Immigration Service (NIS) Isah Jere said that all land borders were to be effectively closed from midnight on Saturday to midnight on Sunday February 26.

“Accordingly, all command comptrollers especially those in the border states are to ensure strict enforcement of this directive,” he said.

The directive was issued to officers manning Nigeria’s borders with Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin.

Vehicular movement


The country has similarly banned vehicular movement from 12am to 6pm on Saturday.

The order was in line with the directive of the Inspector-General of Police Alkali Usman Baba.

Only officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), electoral observers, ambulances, fire fighters and others on confirmed emergency services would be considered.

“There will be no movement or escort of VIPs throughout the election period, while state security outfits are not allowed to take part in the exercise,” the police said.

As the nation takes necessary precautions for hitch-free elections, INEC has started moving all sensitive materials to the 774 local government areas.

The presidential and National Assembly elections will be held on February 25 while those for governors and State Assembly will be held on March 11.

Fake news

INEC has warned politicians to be wary of fake social media posts after voting and prior to the official declaration of result by the commission.

At the same time, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has ordered broadcasting stations across the nation to desist from announcing election results after voting until INEC has made a formal announcement.

The NBC also urged all broadcasters to adhere to the ethics and codes of the commission by stopping campaign commercials 24 hours prior to election day.

According to NBC’s Director of Broadcast Monitoring Francisca Aiyetan, broadcasters were supposed to end all partisan political programmes by 11.59pm on Thursday.

Eighteen candidates are in the 2023 presidential race with four being viewed as the frontrunners.

INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said there are a total of 176,606 polling units in the country where the general election will be carried out.

He revealed that voters assigned to new polling units will receive text messages informing them where to cast their votes, adding that the commission has made it easier for voters to locate their polling units.