At least 1.5m Nigerians displaced by the Islamist insurgency may not get to vote in the country’s 2015 elections, the BBC reported 17 December.
This includes many Christians who helped elect President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.
Voting laws need to be amended otherwise some voters will be disenfranchised, said Nick Dazzang, a spokesman for the Independent National Electoral Commission.
As the law stands, voters are allowed to ‘transfer’ their registration to where they now live, which may be a camp. But they can only vote where they’re actually registered, potentially denying thousands who cannot return to their homes. And apart from being an extra administrative burden on fleeing citizens, this fails to recognise the fragility of their transient status.
Dr Bitrus Pogu, a prominent leader in Chibok, the Borno State village from which more than 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped in April 2014, told World Watch Monitor in September that by potentially denying a vote to many non-Muslim voters, Boko Haram may be close to achieving its goal of establishing Islamic rule in a part of northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram’s offensive has been ‘to displace our communities so that we would be less of a factor in next year’s elections’, he added.