Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, Daura in Katsina State, February 15, 2019. REUTERS

Dozens of people have been killed in a wave of violence related to presidential and parliamentary elections in Nigeria.

Iran Press/Iran news: Nearly 39 people were killed in an election violence so far in Nigeria, civil society groups said, as the country awaits the results of voting in what is expected to be its tightest election since the end of military rule in 1999.

The number of deaths reported by Sunday, was below the final death tolls in previous elections in Africa’s most populous country, but in the past most unrest has taken place after results were announced.

Voting took place on Saturday, with some polling stations staying open on Sunday and results not expected for several more days, The Japan Times reported.

A credible and relatively calm poll would open a new chapter in the checkered political history of Nigeria, where nearly six decades of independence have been tarnished by military coups, endemic corruption and secessionist movements.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, Daura in Katsina State, February 15, 2019. REUTERS

Around 100 people killed during and after the last election in 2015, according to the International Crisis Group. Four years before that, in the religiously mixed northern city of Kaduna, 800 people were killed in an election violence.

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The Situation Room — which represents more than 70 civil society groups — gave Sunday’s figure of 39 deaths, citing data from Lagos-based consultancy SBM Intelligence.

A spreadsheet provided by SBM Intelligence showed that in one incident, seven people were killed in a shoot-out between Nigerian army troops and a gang in Abonnema, around 14 km (9 miles) west of the main oil industry city of Port Harcourt in the oil hub of Rivers state.

Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari faces a tight election contest in Africa’s largest economy, top oil producer and most populous nation against the main opposition candidate, businessman and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.

The country’s presidential elections in 2011 and 2015 were also delayed over logistics and security issues.

The decision to delay this year’s vote was criticized by the chairman of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The president’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party also criticized the electoral commission for the delay.105/201/213


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Soldiers hold a position outside the INEC office as Nigerians await the results of the presidential and legislative election.  REUTERS