Blasts heard in Nigerian city of Maiduguri before polls

Posted February 24, 2019

Nigerians are expected to cast their ballots on Saturday, seven days after the country's presidential and parliamentary elections were abruptly postponed just hours before polling stations opened.

The army also confirmed a "futile" attack on a security outpost in Geidam in Yobe state.

A screengrab taken from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.

President Muhammadu Buhari has thrashed the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, at the polling unit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The PDP, therefore, call on INEC to ensure that all votes count as Nigerians are following all the figures from the polling units.

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He tells reporters that "I look forward to a successful transition" and says he is impressed with voter turnout.

Nigerians "are behaving themselves", the president said. The president, first in line to vote in his northern hometown of Daura, jokingly checked the name on his wife's ballot.

"They are late and it's not good because I wanted to vote on time and go home", said Akinola Kogo, 57, as he waited for registration to start at a Lagos primary school. Ibrahim Mustapha, one Yola voter, was annoyed. He previously pledged to accept the results, provided they are credible.

"Before dealing with migration, we have to deal with freedom in a country", she said, adding that migration "is the last thing we have to talk about".

"We are on top of the situation and we are confident that as we progress in this particular election, most of the issues that arisen relating to this particular election will be addressed", Okoye said.

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The blasts in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri came shortly before polls were to open.

There was no official comment from the military but Borno police commissioner Damian Chukwu denied any attack.

Gunfire also was heard in parts of Port Harcourt in Nigeria's restive south, where the military presence was said to be heavier than in past elections.

In recent months, there has been an increase in attacks against troops, blamed on or claimed by Boko Haram's Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction.

With 84 million people registered to vote in the country, its Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the mammoth task of overseeing the voting process in Africa's largest democracy.

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