United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has urged Nigeria and other Countries in the West African sub-region holding elections in 2019, to conduct peaceful and credible elections, NAN reports. He made the statement during a security council on the activities of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).

Mr. Guterres asserted that though Africa has witnessed an improvement in the conduct of elections, the pre and post-election stages are marred with hostile confrontations.

He implored the National authorities and stakeholders of countries like Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Nigeria, Mauritania, Senegal, and Guinea, which are scheduled to hold elections in 2019 to ensure a fair level playing ground with a view to conducting peaceful, credible and inclusive elections.

According to him, rising tensions have been witnessed in Nigeria due to the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections slated for February 16 as well as gubernatorial and state assembly elections of March 2nd.

Guterres further noted that there have been concerns following allegations of involvement of security forces during the recent gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

He also highlighted some challenges of the ability of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to participate in the polls amidst the current security challenges as well as that of terrorism and farmers/herders clash and the string of defections to different political parties by politicians.