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Ban on Rallies in Nigeria Stifles Campaigning


Nigerian police have announced a ban on all rallies and processions nationwide prior to Saturday’s elections. At the same time, authorities are threatening to impose curfews on states where election-related violence continues.

VOA reporter Chinedu Offor is following the story. From Lagos, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua.

“According to President Olusegun Obasanjo, there are activities that threaten national peace and security. He has said that in some states…those he (Obasanjo) described as miscreants…and those who want to take the law into their own hands plan mass rallies that may turn violent. So, he’s saying the government has a responsibility to maintain law and order. And if necessary, the government plans to impose curfew on those states.

“Also, the inspector general of police…has said that police plan to maintain a ban on all processions, all rallies on all election-related activities. And all kinds of political activities should be confined indoors,” he says.

Offor says that the opposition has “cried foul,” accusing the government of attempting to cripple their campaigns by limiting what they can do. Supporters of presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar say he has been blocked from running an effective campaign due to the many legal challenges he has faced.

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