Nigeria postpones national election due to threat from Boko Haram

Nigeria postpones national election due to threat from Boko Haram

[Ed. – This is actually very big.  Nigeria is, by population, the largest nation in Africa, and has long been considered one of the continent’s major success stories in terms of maintaining governmental viability and stability in the post-colonial era.  It would pay big dividends to bolster Nigeria’s central government against the Islamist threat — but who’s going to do it?]

Nigeria is postponing presidential and legislative elections until March 28 because security forces fighting an Islamic uprising cannot ensure voters’ safety around the country, the electoral commission announced Saturday, a week before the vote was scheduled.

Millions could be disenfranchised if voting originally scheduled for Feb. 14 went ahead while Boko Haram extremists hold a large swath of the northeast and commit mayhem that has left 1.5 million people homeless.

Commission chairman Attahiru Jega told a news conference Saturday night that national security advisers and intelligence officers have said security forces need six weeks to conduct “a major operation” against Boko Haram and cannot also safeguard the elections. …

The postponement comes amid a major offensive against Boko Haram joined by Chad and Nigerian warplanes and ground troops that has driven the insurgents out of a dozen towns and villages in the past 10 days. Even stronger military strikes involving more neighboring countries are planned.

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