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Nigeria elections 'will go ahead'

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said that next week's governor elections will go ahead, despite riots that have left more than 100 dead and forced 40,000 others to flee following the recent presidential vote in Africa's most populous nation.

Muslim rioters burned homes, churches and police stations after results showed Nigeria's Christian president had beaten his closest Muslim opponent in Saturday's vote.

Reprisal attacks by Christians began almost immediately. Some Christian community leaders have threatened to boycott Tuesday's elections for state governors because of security concerns.

In a televised address to the nation, Mr Jonathan said calm was being restored to the troubled parts of the oil-rich country.

The upcoming polls will go ahead in 31 of the country's 36 states; elections in the other five have been postponed.

"We are shocked by these horrific acts which strike at the heart of our nation," Mr Jonathan said.

"These disturbances are more than mere political protests. Clearly, they aim to frustrate the remaining elections."

Mr Jonathan also urged religious leaders "not to use the sacredness of our places of worship to promote messages that could lead to hate".

Nigeria has a long history of violent and rigged polls since it abandoned a revolving door of military rulers and embraced democracy 12 years ago.

However, observers largely said Saturday's presidential election appeared to be fair, and the US State Department said it was a significant improvement over the last poll in 2007.


From Belfast Telegraph