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U.S. and U.K. Eye ‘Political Interference’ in Nigeria’s Elections

U.S. and U.K. Eye ‘Political Interference’ in Nigeria’s Elections

The top diplomats for the United States and Great Britain have raised concerns of “political interference” in Nigeria’s elections — the initial results of which aren’t expected until Tuesday at the earliest.

In a joint statement released Monday, March 30, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also called the vote “largely peaceful.” Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group, killed dozens of people over the weekend in northeast Nigeria and reportedly scared hundreds of others away from polling sites. But the violence was mostly contained to the nation’s northeast.

Kerry and Hammond made clear they “have seen no evidence of systemic manipulation” of the nationwide vote.

Yet they cited “disturbing indications” that the vote count “may be subject to deliberate political interference.”

Election monitors said balloting equipment malfunctioned, leading to delays in “many” of the more than 100 polling stations across 25 local governments where international observers with the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute were located. The NDI also said a number of polling stations opened late.

Still, “no significant disenfranchisement was observed on election day,” the NDI said in a statement.

 PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / Getty