Nigeria won't use 240 new polling units due to insecurity - electoral commission

ABUJA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Nigeria's electoral commission head said on Monday that 240 polling centres will not be used in upcoming elections, as no one had chosen them due to insecurity in the surrounding areas.

Separatist and gang violence is a major concern for Nigerians when they vote on Feb. 25 for new members of parliament and for a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.

When new voters register in Nigeria, they are allowed to choose a polling centre. Most people choose the nearest to where they live because movement is restricted by security agencies on election day.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Mahmood Yakubu told political party leaders at a meeting in Abuja that the agency had increased the total number of polling stations to 176,846 from 119,973 two years ago.

None of the more than eight million voters registered between 2021 and 2022 chose to vote in 240 of the new centres, while those already registered showed no interest in being moved to the new centres, he said.

"No new registrants chose the polling units and no voters indicated interest to transfer to them ... mainly for security reasons," Yakubu said.

Northeastern Taraba state, where Islamist insurgents have carried out attacks, and southeastern Imo state, the hotbed of separatist and gang violence, have the highest number of polling units where voting will not take place, said Yakubu.

(This story has been corrected to change the reference to Imo state in paragraph 7 to southeastern from southwestern)

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Editing by Sharon Singleton

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