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The Nigerian Presidential elections are a crucial step in consolidating democracy in the country. I congratulate the people of Nigeria on their patience and perseverance in completing the voting process, the security services on ensuring that the voting could take place in peace and security, and the INEC and National Youth Service Corps for enabling the process to happen. Civil society has also played a crucial role in ensuring the peaceful and transparent conduct of the elections. Despite the challenges that were faced, the EU Chief Observer reported that INEC had made commendable efforts to strengthen the election arrangements, the big majority of people were free to vote, and there was so far no evidence of nation-wide manipulation or intimidation. But it remains crucial that there should be no undue interference in the collation process that continues.
It is now for all parties to accept the verdict of the people. I urge everyone to continue to show patience and restraint while waiting for the INEC to publish the final results, which should reflect the freely expressed will of the people. Any challenges to those results should be made peacefully and through the appropriate legal means. The EU observers will continue to monitor the process until it is completed.
The recent attacks by Boko Haram in Gombe and Bauchi demonstrate the continued threat posed by extremists to Nigeria's democracy. I offer my condolences to the families of all those who died. The EU remains willing to support regional efforts to contain and defeat Boko Haram.