ABUJA - Nigerian security forces have been placed on full alert in advance of impending state and presidential elections.
President Olusegun Obasanjo said in a statement Sunday that authorities would "clamp down heavily" on anyone threatening to disrupt the elections, which will mark the nation's first transfer of power from one elected civilian leader to another, the Voice of America reported. Obasanjo said he took the preventative action to protect "collective desire for trouble-free elections."
Elections for 38 state governors take place Saturday, with presidential polls to follow a week later.
The president's statement was to be aired on national television as part of a special Easter broadcast.
Last week, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch criticized the government for not pre-empting political violence before the polls. European Union election observers have said they will not send representatives into the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria because of security concerns.
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