April 1, 2015 / 9:45 AM / 5 years ago

UK's Hammond says transition to new Nigeria government must stay peaceful

LONDON (Reuters) - Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan, the outgoing president, must ensure the transition to a new government remains peaceful, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Wednesday.

Three decades after seizing power in a military coup, Buhari has become the first Nigerian to oust a president through the ballot box, putting him in charge of Africa’s biggest economy and one of its most turbulent democracies.

Jonathan called Buhari on Tuesday to concede defeat and issued a statement urging his supporters to accept the result.

“I congratulate Muhammadu Buhari on his election victory ... and also President Goodluck Jonathan for the statesmanship he has shown in delivering free and fair elections and accepting the result,” Hammond said in a statement.

“It is now important for both parties to ensure the transition to a new government remains peaceful.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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