The main candidates in the Nigerian presidential election have signed a peace agreement ahead of tightly contested elections on Saturday. Switzerland has been working to prevent election-related violence in the country through dialogue and technical expertise.
On Wednesday, the main presidential candidates including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar signed an agreement in the capital, Abuja, pledging to promote peace and follow the legal process if there is a dispute after the vote.
The signing ceremony took place in the presence of high-level representatives from Switzerland, the European Union and the UN.
In a press release,external link the Swiss government commended all the signatories and called on them to abide by the agreement. At the request of Nigerian stakeholders, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has contributed technical expertise and financial support to efforts to prevent election-related violence, working in cooperation with local and international partners such as the Kofi Annan Foundation.
The FDFA's Human Security Division has been liaising closely with the National Peace Committee since April 2018 when it invited a delegation of senior Nigerian officials to meet with electoral experts, diplomats and international mediators in Geneva. Switzerland has contributed just over CHF180,000 to the efforts.
On the same day, at least 15 people were killed in a stampede at a campaign rally for Buhari. Most of the victims are reported to have fallen and been trampled as the crowd tried to force its way through a partially locked gate to follow Mr. Buhari as he left the arena.