U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged Nigeria’s leading presidential candidates to refrain from instigating violence after next month’s general election.
Speaking at the US consulate’s residence in Lagos, Kerry told reporters that America and others will closely watch the election, adding that it is “absolutely critical” the poll is “credible, transparent, accountable”.
Kerry said the US was sharing intelligence with Nigeria and stood ready to do more if the 14 February election proceeded in a non-violent, democratic fashion.
He met in separate locations with both leading candidates, President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, the former military dictator whom Jonathan defeated in 2011.
More than 800 people were killed in northern protests after Buhari, a Muslim northerner, lost to Jonathan, a Christian from the south.
Separately, Kerry condemned savage attacks by Boko Haram, an al-Qaida-linked insurgency.
“We will absolutely continue to support the Nigerian military in it’s fight against Boko Haram,” he said.
Independent analysts have condemned the government’s tactics against Boko Haram, arguing that they inspire support for a movement driven by joblessness, alienation, ethnic divisions and poor governance.
Boko Haram has denounced democracy and is fighting to impose a strict version of Shariah law.
Story compiled with the information from the Associated Press.