Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the closure of the country’s land and sea borders ahead of this weekend’s general election, the interior ministry said Wednesday.
The closure will take effect from midnight on March 25 until the same time March 28, after polling closes for presidential and parliamentary elections.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the closure of all Nigeria’s land and sea borders … to allow for peaceful conduct of the forthcoming national elections,” permanent secretary at the ministry Abubakar Magaji said in an emailed statement.
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s federal police chief ordered the “total restriction” of vehicles between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on election day, apart from the emergency services and others on “essential duties.”
Nigeria is bordered by Benin to the west, Cameroon to the east and also had borders with Chad and Niger in the north.
Security is always a major issue at Nigerian elections, with politically linked violence often flaring between supporters of rival parties. Concern is especially high this year due to an increase in violent attacks on civilians by the armed group Boko Haram.
In the last elections in 2011, about 1,000 people were killed in clashes, mostly in the country’s violent north, after Jonathan beat opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari for the presidency.