European Union election observers won’t be sent to Nigeria’s delta region during next month’s landmark elections due to the ongoing attacks and kidnappings which have prompted thousands of foreigners to flee the oil heartland in the past year. “We are not going to deploy in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa because in these states, the environment for international observers is not conducive,” said Max van den Berg, leader of the EU Election Observation Mission. “It is painful that we cannot observe in these three states, but it is more important to stay alive.” The EU will send 66 observers to Nigeria’s other 33 states. The elections are to mark the first civilian-to-civilian transition in the world’s eighth biggest oil exporter since Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960. (Reuters, March 21)
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