SA-based international election observer group has appealed to Nigeria to extend the visas of foreign observers to allow them to remain until March 9. Picture: Reuters/Luc Gnago

Johannesburg – The Pan African Women’s project, a South African-based international election observer group, has appealed to Nigeria’s federal government to extend the visas of all foreign observers to enable them to remain until March 9, when the rescheduled polls are expected to take place.

The group, which is accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), also urged the commission to avoid further postponement, the Premium Times reported.

On Saturday INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, announced that presidential and national assembly elections would be postponed until Saturday – only hours before they were due to be held. Yakubu also said that governorship and state assembly elections had been postponed from March 2 to March 9.

The Pan African group’s publicity secretary Mphoentle Keitseng made the appeal for the visa extension during a press conference in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

“The Nigerian government should instruct the Comptroller General of Immigration to extend the visas for all foreign observers enabling them to stay until the March the 9th 2019 general elections,” said Keitseng.

“Many measures are put in place by different observer groups to ensure that the 2019 general elections will be transparent and credible and should meet all international standards. As such, further postponement should be avoided,” she added.

Her organisation also called on Nigerians to remain calm and support INEC while urging it to instil public confidence in the electoral process.

“The Nigerian government should take into cognisance that the entire world is watching with keen interest, the entire electoral process by Nigeria.”

African News Agency (ANA)