Pittella: "Boko Haram a global threat like Isis – fair elections needed in Nigeria to fight terrorists"

Pittella: "Boko Haram a global threat like Isis – fair elections needed in Nigeria to fight terrorists"

After the decision of the Nigerian authorities to postpone the presidential election and the continuous violence from Boko Haram, the president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, said:

"Boko Haram are no longer just a local threat. They have become a global threat, putting the whole region in danger, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Thousands of people have been killed and more than one and a half million have been displaced. Families have been destroyed, women and girls sexually abused, children orphaned. We cannot wait and see.

"Boko Haram are terrorists like Isis or al-Qaida and the European Union, along with the international community, must fight to stop their advance and prevent further atrocities.

"It is of crucial importance for Nigeria – and indeed for the whole region – to hold peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible presidential elections without further delay. A strong and fully legitimate government is a pre-requisite to be able to fight and defeat Boko Haram. The elections in Nigeria will set the tone for other African elections to be held this year. Democracy and the rule of law must prevail.

"To support these efforts the EU has already provided a package of assistance for the Nigerian electoral process totalling €35 million and, at the invitation of the Nigerian authorities, has deployed an EU electoral observation mission. As Socialists and Democrats we will continue to watch the elections taking place in Nigeria closely, as two of our MEPs – Kashetu Kyenge and Javi Lopez – will take part in the European Parliament's election observation mission.

"We cannot leave one of the main African countries alone facing bloody terrorists. We cannot repeat the errors of the past made in the Middle East and north Africa."