At a time Diaspora voting was still impossible in Nigeria, over 7,600 citizens of Niger Republic are voting in the country’s presidential election on Nigerian soil.
According to reports, accreditation of voters and voting in Sunday’s presidential election commenced peacefully in Kano centre, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
A correspondent monitoring the election reports that the simultaneous processes commenced around 8 a.m. with large turn-out of voters at the Niger Republic Consulate office, venue of the election.
Security was also very tight as both the Nigeria policemen and security operatives from Niger Republic were seen keeping vigil at the venue.
It was also observed that people coming into the venue were being thoroughly screened to ensure that only eligible voters were allowed into the venue.
Besides, there were adequate election materials at the two designated polling units.
A cross section of voters who spoke on the arrangements commended the Nigerian government for deploying adequate security personnel at the venue.
One of the voters, Abduollahi Amma, expressed satisfaction with the entire process, particularly the security arrangement.
“I feel happy about the security arrangement, we feel as if we are at home,” he said.
Another voter, Samadou Haruona-Amaduo, also expressed happiness about the entire security arrangement at the venue.
“We are satisfied with the whole arrangement because peace is the major factor in any process,” he said.
Voting has also commenced at the Sokoto centre.
Dozens of eligible voters were seen queuing up, waiting to be accredited by the officials of the Nigerien National Electoral Commission, CENI.
Several Nigerian security agencies were seen keeping vigil at the centre, while accreditation and voting were going on simultaneously.
Over 7,600 Nigeriens are expected to vote for their preferred candidates from two Nigerian states, Kano and Sokoto, officials said.
At the Kano centre, no fewer than 6,742 Nigerien eligible voters residing in Kano State are participating in the ongoing Niger Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Rabi Abdou-Dabo, the Consul-General in the Niger Republic Consulate in Kano, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria in Kano on Sunday.
She said that the voters were expected to vote for both presidential and National Assembly candidates.
According to her, the voting which commenced at about 8 a.m., will end at 7 p.m.
The Consul-General commended the government of Niger Republic for allowing its citizens in Diaspora to vote, which she said would give Nigeriens the opportunity to exercise their civic and constitutional responsibilities.
“This is the first time since 1993 when our people in Diaspora are being given the opportunity to exercise their right as citizens of the country,” she said.
President Mahamadou Issoufou is running for a second term with a promise to crush Islamist militants and develop the economy in one of the poorest countries in the world.
He faces 14 candidates including Seyni Oumaru, leader of an opposition coalition.
Critics say Issoufou used repression ahead of the vote, including arresting opposition supporters and jailing opposition leader Hama Amadou over charges related to a baby-trafficking ring.
However, Issoufou’s government says it respects the law and calls the allegations politically motivated.
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